Madonna unveiled the video for her new single “God Control” on Wednesday, making it clear she has no plans to shy away from hot-button politics anytime soon.
True to form, the Queen of Pop adopts multiple personas throughout “God Control,” appearing both as a bespectacled brunette and a blond disco diva. However, the video also makes a poignant statement against gun violence, even featuring a disclaimer warning viewers about graphic content ― a first for the Madonna catalog.
“The story you’re about to see is very disturbing,” she writes. “But it’s happening everywhere and it has to stop.”
As the brunette clacks furiously at a typewriter, her blonde alter ego pops in at a Studio 54-like nightclub. At one point, the pop superstar is held up at gunpoint on a street corner.
Later, she and other nightclub revelers are shown attempting to dodge bullets in wrenching sequences that bring to mind the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, as well as last year’s shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.
Watch the full “God Control” video below. WARNING: It contains graphic imagery.
The video ends with some harrowing statistics regarding gun violence in the U.S. as well as a request to support organizations fighting for gun safety legislation.
Madonna had been hinting at the video’s provocative nature in a series of Instagram posts since the release of her latest album, “Madame X,” last week. The clip finds her re-teaming with Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund, with whom she previously collaborated on the videos for 1998’s “Ray of Light” and 2001’s “Music.”
In an interview with People magazine published Wednesday, the star described “God Control” as “a call to action,” before calling gun violence “the biggest problem in America right now.” Another “Madame X” track, “I Rise,” features an excerpt from a speech by Parkland School shooting survivor Emma González at a gun control rally last year.
Madonna’s primary impetus, she said, was the safety of her six children: Lourdes, 22, Rocco, 18, David, 13, Mercy, 13 and twin girls Estere and Stelle, 6.
“As a mother, you feel protective and responsible for all of the children in the world,” Madonna explained. “It’s really scary to me that the once-safe spaces where we gather, worship and learn are targets. Nobody’s safe. So of course, as a mother, I acutely feel the worry.”
“My responsibility is to use my voice to effect change in the world,” she continued. “But then it has to go to the next level.”