Madonna On A Mission
Shes about to begin her Sticky and Sweet World Tour, and “4 Minutes,” the first single from her new album, Hard Candy, is topping the charts. And now Madonna can add documentarian to her growing list of accomplishments.
I Am Because We Are, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, focuses on the suffering of Malawian children whose parents died of AIDS, an issue of critical importance to the superstar.
What made you decide to do the documentary?
“I was approached by a woman who lived there who said, ‘Look, you have children; youre a mother; you write childrens books; you donate money to childrens charities, so we know that you care. Theres a state of emergency going on here, over a million children orphaned by AIDS. People pay attention to what you do and what you say, so could you please help?’ I just thought, ‘How can I say no?'”
What was it like to film in Africa?
“When I experienced what was going on first hand, I just got sucked into the whole thing. Thank God I did. I met some amazing people and, hopefully, Ive changed the lives of a lot of children. Just as important, I think its been an incredible growing and learning experience for me. I think the film is really important because its not really just about whats happening in Malawi, its really about the importance of how connected we all are, and how responsible we are for one another.”
Did you know it would give you another child?
“No, of course not. But Ill never forget meeting my son, David. If I could, I would have adopted 10 more children. Theres just so many that need parents and ones more beautiful and lovely than the next.”
You have some high-profile collaborators on your new album Hard Candy, from Justin Timberlake to Kanye West. Who was in charge in those recording sessions?
“I like to work with people who have strong opinions. Justin, Timbaland and Kanye they are all pretty much superstars in their own right and have a very strong sense of what they like and what they want but so do I. So it was like many forces meeting all together in a room and it was good give and take. There was a lot of chemistry.”
You seem to have a very strong sense of what it takes to survive in this business.
“I guess so. I mean, people say that about me, but I dont really think of myself as a business woman. Maybe I just have good intuition.”
As the music world changes, youve been called a master at reinventing yourself. Whats the secret to staying current?
“I think its because Im curious. I pay attention to whats going on around me. Im always looking for new energy, new talent, new voices. When you do that I think its easier to come up with fresh ideas. It’s not that my career has been based on surprising people, but its been about challenging myself to constantly do new things that are going to broaden my own mind and in the process, hopefully, connect with other people.”
Hows the fight going to keep the media from invading the privacy of your children?
“Its a constant battle. I try to avoid places where I think my kids are going to get inundated by paparazzi. In England, theres a law against photographing children. So its a little bit easier there. Airports we cant avoid. Sometimes its just unavoidable. I don’t like to live in a gilded cage. I don’t want to live my life behind closed doors. I want to be out in the world and I want to be free, and yet, still careful and watchful.”