Madonna surprised fans at New York’s iconic LGBTQ venue Stonewall Inn with a speech and performance on New Year’s Eve. As Variety reports, the singer was recently named the Stonewall ambassador to kick off events marking the 50th anniversary of the riots, which took place there in 1969 and helped launch the modern LGBTQ movement.
Prior to her performance, which included “Like a Prayer” and a rendition of Elvis Presley’s 1961 hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” she delivered a speech reflecting on the LGBTQ movement and a hopeful look to the future.
“If we truly look and we truly take the time to get to know one another, we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. As we stand here together tonight, let’s remember who we are fighting for and what we are fighting for. We are fighting for ourselves, yes. We are fighting for each other, yes. But truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for?” Madonna asked as the crowd responded with the word “love.” “Love, thank you people, we’re fighting for love.
“So let’s take a moment to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019. In this new year, let’s commit to disarming people with unexpected acts of kindness. Let’s be counterintuitive, share what you know with someone you don’t agree with. Think about that, try it, get out of your comfort zone,” she continued. “Let’s try to be more forgiving, maybe we will find an opening to let the light come in. Let’s close up the distance between one human being and another. Are you ready to do that?”
After her remarks she asked “everyone to say a little prayer” to introduce her performance of her 1989 hit “Like a Prayer” (at around the 3:07 mark in the fan-shot footage above). Backed by her son David Banda on acoustic guitar, she sang as the crowd joined in. During the song, she lovingly wrapped her arms around her son and they sang together, with the tune culminating in a capella. They closed with the crowd-assisted sing-along of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
— Plus Magazine (@HIVPlusMag) January 1, 2019