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Madonna’s New Anthem ‘I Rise’ Samples Parkland Survivor Emma Gonzalez

YouTube screenshot of Madonna's 'I Rise' music video.
YouTube screenshot of Madonna's 'I Rise' music video.

“I wrote ‘I Rise’ as a way of giving a voice to all marginalized people who feel they don’t have the opportunity to speak their mind.”

Music superstar Madonna released a new single for her upcoming album “Madame X”, which is releasing June 14. The new song features an audio sample of a speech by a student activist from the Parkland high school shootings last year.

“I Rise” opens with a sound bite of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez’s impassioned speech, which went viral last year: “[They say] us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS!”

Gonzalez and her classmates famously took to the streets of Washington D.C. to protest the National Rifle Association and the government’s alleged lack of action in resolving issues of gun access. She has since helped organize the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD, a student-led political action committee that advocates for tighter regulations to prevent gun violence.

In her new song, Madonna’s lyrics expand on the tone of Gonzalez’s famous speech with lyrics such as: “There’s nothing you can do to me that hasn’t been done/ Not bulletproof, shouldn’t have to run from a gun/ River of tears ran dry, let ’em run/ No game that you can play with me, I ain’t one.”

Madonna’s “I Rise” – An Anthem for the Unheard

“I Rise” is the second single to be released from Madonna’s upcoming album, following first single, “Medellín”. The superstar explained that the new mid-tempo ballad doesn’t just reference the tragic violence of such school shootings, but is an anthem for anyone who may feel powerless in the face of injustice.

“I wrote ‘I Rise’ as a way of giving a voice to all marginalized people who feel they don’t have the opportunity to speak their mind,” said Madonna, mother of six. “This year is the 50th anniversary of Pride and I hope this song encourages all individuals to be who they are, to speak their minds and to love themselves.”

Madonna herself was just given a prestigious honor by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization. She received the Advocate for Change Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City, May 4th. The honor recognizes a person who has made significant changes for the LGBTQ community, through their work and advocacy. She is only the second recipient of the award.

For a career that has spanned four decades and with a notorious penchant for pushing the envelope, employing social or political views in her art is nothing new for Madonna. In 2003, her song “American Life” criticized then-President George W. Bush. The subsequent music video was banned from MTV for its overt imagery of war and violence, which Madonna was depicting to condemn the Iraq War.

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