Madonna's "MDNA Tour" has been rife with controversy as it's made various stops around the world, and Wednesday night's performance in Los Angeles was no exception. Things started earnestly enough when Madonna took a break from performing to tell the sold-out crowd of 18,000 it was time to "have our serious chat."
Reuters, Getty Images
Malala Yousafzai, left, in an undated photo, and Madonna in concert on Wednesday in L.A.
"This made me cry," Madonna said, "The 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot on a schoolbus for writing a blog about how important education was to her. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her ... Do you understand the sickness and absurdity of this?
"Support education! Support the people who support women!" Madonna then shouted to an approving crowd.
Madonna was referring to teen advocate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Mingora, Pakistan, on Tuesday. Yousafzai became a target of the Taliban because of a blog she had maintained about her life and support of girls' education, which she started writing when she was 11.
Later in her show, Madonna took things a step further and performed a striptease, during which she turned her back to reveal "Malala" written across it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"This song is for Malala," she said, before launching into her song "Human Nature."
News of the "tribute" spread to Pakistan, where some took to Twitter to voice disapproval of Madonna's gesture. "Get it Right: Associating #Madonna with #Malala IS DISRESPECT TO #Malala!!! Plz. Give #Malala a rest!" wrote @OHPakistan to NBC News' Amna Nawaz on Friday. Also weighing in was user @bijm30caahm, who wrote, "Not the right way to pay Homage to Brave Malala. Its a way to earn cheap self popularity."
The striptease and accompanying performance of "Human Nature" have been a staple of Madonna's tour. In Turkey, she flashed her nipple during the performance, a gesture that was believed to represent her disapproval for the prime minister's call to ban abortion and C-sections, and lend support to My Body is Mine, a Turkish women's group fighting the ban.