The “Like a Prayer” video shows a white woman being fatally stabbed by a gang of white assailants, but when a nearby Black man (Leon Robinson) arrives to help the victim, he is accused of the murder and jailed by police. Because of the content of the video — which also includes burning crosses and Madonna kissing the accused, who is also depicted as a saint in a church — Pepsi pulled the ad from television. Controversy over the provocative video erupted the day it was released, which included protests by the Vatican. In addition to the burning crosses and the depiction of the saint transforming from a statue into a living, breathing man to kiss Madonna, the singer is wearing a crucifix necklace.
Perhaps someday Madonna will be able to tell more of her side of the story if she ever directs her own biopic. In January 2023, word surfaced that the Madonna biopic starring Julia Garner wasn’t happening after all, six months after the “Ozark” star was cast to star as the singer.
For now, fans can at least see a comedic version of the singer on film in the movie parody “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” starring Daniel Radcliffe as “Weird Al” Yankovic. In an exclusive interview with Looper, Evan Rachel Wood revealed how she reacted to the offer of playing Madonna in “Weird.” Wood said, “I got excited and slightly nervous because I thought, ‘I know this is a parody, but I still want it to be good.’ You still have a lot of pressure on your shoulders when you’re playing Madonna — maybe not as much [as] if you’re in a biopic, but I still took it very seriously.”