Madonna sings 'I'll be Islam' on new 'white-saviour' track

Madonna sings 'I'll be Islam' on new 'white-saviour' track
Madonna has released a new track saying she will "be Islam" in solidarity with Muslims. The singer has previously faced accusations of 'white saviourism' over a controversial adoption.
2 min read
17 June, 2019
Madonna performs at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv [Getty Archive]

American Queen of Pop Madonna’s latest album, Madame X, contains a surprising new lyric. Apparently addressing rising Islamophobic attitudes in the West, the 61-year old superstar sings "I’ll be Islam if Islam is hated" on the track "Killers Who Are Partying".

In this song, which has Portuguese influences, Madonna says that she will "be" various ethnicities and social groups, singing,

I’ll be Islam, if Islam is hated

I’ll be Israel, if they’re incarcerated,

I’ll be Native Indian, if the Indian has been taken,

I’ll be a woman, if she’s raped and her heart is breaking

I will be gay, if the gay are burned

I'll be Africa, if Africa is shut down

I will be poor, if the poor are humiliated

And I'll be a child, if the children are exploited

Madame X, Madonna’s fourteenth album, was generally well-received by critics and hit number one on the album charts in 58 countries.

However, critics also took issue with this particular track, with Ben Beaumont-Thomas in The Guardian saying that Madonna was a "multimillionaire, already not shy of white saviourhood playing empath to the world's huddled masses".

In The NME (New Musical Express) El Hunt wrote that the lyrics "seem like tone-deaf expressions of solidarity, especially from a wealthy white woman who seems to be planting herself at the centre of multiple minority narratives."

Madonna has been actively involved in philanthropic work in the southern African nation of Malawi, setting up a charity to care for orphans in the impoverished nation and adopting four Malawian orphans herself. However, the circumstances of one of the adoptions was very controversial, with the biological parents of the adopted child saying they were not properly consulted about the process.

Raised a Catholic, Madonna later became an adherent of a mystical form of Judaism known as Kabbalah. She has also flirted with the idea of converting to Islam, saying in 2013 that she was "building schools for girls in Islamic countries" and "studying the Qur’an".

However, she sparked controversy later on by appearing in a niqab on two separate occasions, and was castigated by journalists and social media users when she said she wore it on the second occasion because "it was that kind of day".

Madonna, who is known for frequently re-inventing herself and her music styles, ended "Killers who are Partying" with the line,

"Do you know who you are?

Will we know when to stop?"