Madonnas Like A Prayer co-star says kissing Black Jesus was not a big deal
Madonna received a wave of backlash when she decided to include herself kissing a black saint beside a burning cross for her Like A Prayer music video.
Since the 1989 release, the star has even claimed she was excommunicated by The Vatican – something which Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, speaking on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, believes should take place.
Pepsi even scrapped a $5million ad campaign featuring Madonna after the controversy.
The 80s-style scandal of the kiss pales in comparison to Madonna’s initial wish to “f*** a Black guy on the altar”, which was eventually vetoed by director Mary Lambert in exchange for having a ‘Black Jesus’.
But her video co-star doesn’t believe it was that big of a deal.
Leon Robinson, 59, took on the role of ‘Black Jesus’ for the video, but explained he never knew how the video would blow up.
"What I didn’t know is that it would be the lead-off story of everything; not just the entertainment sections, but the front of the newspapers and the first story on the news," he explained.
Speaking to host Allison Kugel on the Allison Interviews podcast, Leon added: “[In 1989], I don’t think that the interracial kiss between Madonna and me was that big of a deal.
"It was who she was kissing and that I was Black. For one thing, most people believed that she was kissing Jesus, and Jesus is being portrayed as a Black man.
"That was where there was, and is, a much bigger controversy."
The actor elaborated: "She’s not just kissing a Black man, she’s kissing a Black Jesus.
"Even though in the video he was just a Saint that came to life, people thought of him as Jesus.
"So that’s where the controversy really happened.
"There were so many metaphors [in the video], but probably none bigger than that."
In the video, Madonna witnesses a white woman being murdered by a group of white men, when a Black man who attempts to help is arrested for the crime instead.
The songstress hides in a church while torn about whether to come forward as a witness – but, while inside the church, a statue closely resembling the arrested man comes to life.
The two share a kiss, until Madonna experiences stigmata and dances with a gospel choir in front of a field of burning crosses – before eventually heading to the police station to declare the man innocent.
Speaking of the video and its controversy, Madonna posted in 2019 to celebrate the song’s 30th anniversary: "30 years ago today I released ‘Like a Prayer’ and made a video that caused so much controversy because I kissed a black saint and danced in front of burning crosses!
"I also made a commercial with PEPSI that was banned because my video was seen as inappropriate."
She cheekily added: "Happy Birthday to Me and Controversy!"
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