Thirty years ago this weekend, Sex was born. It represented Madonna at her most daring, and she paid dearly for it. Sure, she made bank in the short run, but I bet she lost half her fans in late 1992.
Took years to regain some steam with Bedtime Stories (somewhat), Evita (a lot) and finally Ray of Light (a lot, lot). But she was never regarded the same way, and she knew that going in.
I don't think pop artists take risks like this much anymore. To be fair, I don't think there are many risks left to take, and when one does do something totally out-there, I mean, is being anti-Semitic really something to brag about?
She pushed so much with that book — some of it successfully, artistically, some not so much — and really, LGBTQ people benefited the most, culturally speaking. We made a lot of progress thanks to activists and thanks to artists pushing the envelope. It's so dispiriting that after Madonna, after Will and Grace, after Matt Shepard, after Don't Ask Don't Tell fell, after Obergefell, after, after, after ... it's 2022 and people think drag is an attempt to groom children.