By now just about everyone has seen the video: Madonna laid her eggs in Drake’s mouth during his Coachella 2015 performance. Okay so maybe she didn’t actually lay eggs, but the video has gone just about as viral as whatever Madonna might have planted on the poor rapper.
Whether the kiss was a spur of the moment decision from Madonna or a publicity stunt from the Coachella gods, it was definitely not okay. In the video Drake seems fine with the kiss at first, even reaching a hand up to rest on Madonna’s hair. But after a few seconds he throws something he had been holding on the ground and puts both hands in the air. Once Madonna is done Drake buckles forward wincing with a hand over his mouth. She exits with “B*tch, I’m Madonna,” and Drake can be heard saying, “Oh sh*t what the f*ck just happened?”
Drake named the sixth track on his new album after Madonna, so her choice as a guest is no coincidence. Her appearance was obviously planned, as Coachella is notorious for headliners bringing on big name “surprise” guests. Drake may have known Madonna would take the stage, but from the video it’s also obvious that he wasn’t expecting mouth-to-mouth.
Both stars instagrammed pictures of the kiss and made light of it later, with Drake calling it “Something to write home about.” While the incident may be something the stars and the internet can laugh off, it still serves as an example of sexual harassment and gender bias. If the tables had been turned, would a forceful kiss planted by a 56-year-old male on a 28-year-old female still have been considered funny? When John Travolta came up behind Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet in February and kissed her on the cheek with his hands around her waist, the actor was regarded as creepy and Johansson’s look of disgust was considered well deserved. Yet, in this case Madonna feels she has nothing to apologize for, tweeting “If you don’t like me and still watch everything I do…B*tch, you’re a fan,” after her kiss with Drake.
Drake even found himself apologizing for his reaction, reportedly telling TMZ that his disgusted reaction was due to the taste of Madonna’s lipstick, not the fact that she seemed to be trying to suck out his soul like a dementor. Madonna seems to think that as a woman and a pop-star she can throw herself onto whomever’s mouth she pleases, but what message does this send to the public? Women shouldn’t be told that they can force themselves on men simply because they’re women, and men shouldn’t have to be forced to like sexual harassment or assault simply because they’re men.
Madonna somehow seems to find herself the victim after the event, tweeting a cartoon of herself with the caption, “I hope people are not mean to champagnepapi when he is 56 and still working the stage! That would not be nice!” However, pulling the ageism card doesn’t seem to do much for her argument. What made the kiss problematic is not Madonna’s age. What made it problematic was the fact that it was forceful. No one, despite age, class, gender, race etc. should force someone else into an act they don’t consent to. Even if the event was a publicity stunt a la Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl “Wardrobe Malfunction,” it’s still a step backwards for today’s feminist and sexual rights movement, and Madonna should have been prepared to take the blame.
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Selene San Felice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org