2016: The Year In Madonna

Madonna was one of the most talked about celebrities of 2016, and that wasn’t always a good thing. She started the year off finding herself in a place where she has traveled to so many times — the Land of PR Hell. However, the Queen of Pop ended 2016 on a good note with a highly praised appearance on Carpool Karaoke. In addition, Madonna’s speech at the Billboard Women in Music event won her more praise than anything she had done since Live 8 in 2005.

Let’s take a look at Madonna’s ups and downs in 2016.

Custody Battle

Nobody really knows what went on between Madonna and her son Rocco, but we all know that Madonna’s son Rocco ran away to be with his father, Guy Ritchie, while Madonna desperately tried to get him to return. The media made Madonna out to be the bad one, with TMZ (falsely) reporting that the rift was caused by Madonna making fun of Rocco’s genitals. The New York Post published a malicious article about Madonna’s kids not wanting anything to do with her.

By April, Madonna resigned to the fact that her son was 16 years old and wanted to stay with his father. Madonna hung out with Rocco in Cuba for her birthday. However, after being arrested for possession of weed, Rocco — according to Us Weekly — was bashing his mother on Instagram. Judging by Madonna’s latest Instagram post, she and Rocco have reconciled again.

Rebel Heart Tour

Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour got off to a great start in 2015 and earned unanimously good reviews. Then, as the custody battle hit, Madonna started showing up on stage late, really late. In Nashville, she showed up at 10:30 p.m. and in Atlanta, she didn’t take the stage until almost 11 p.m. She was (falsely) accused of being drunk on stage and by the time the show pulled into Australia, the Rebel Heart Tour had become a PR disaster.

However, the Queen of Pop — once again — got the last laugh. According to Billboard, Madonna’s tour helped her break records, and she became the highest-grossing performer in music history.

Prince Tribute

Madonna’s Prince Tribute was hated long before it was even conceived. [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

Madonna’s tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards in May was a target of harsh criticism even before it happened. Long before Madonna hit the stage, many had turned her performance into a racial issue since Madonna is white and Prince wasn’t.

Immediately after the tribute, Madonna received some fantastic reviews. Lindsay Parker of Yahoo Music called the tribute amazing, while the Huffington Post said her tribute was purple perfect. But that didn’t stop the immediate Twitter backlash. Still, Madonna had something to say to her detractors, especially BET, who shaded the tribute just seconds after it ended.

Carpool Karaoke

Many fans believe Madonna is at her best when she is relaxed and having a good time. That’s just what they saw when Madonna joined James Corden to sing some of her biggest hits, including “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Vogue,” “Express Yourself,” and “Ray of Light.” Madonna even showed some pretty impressive flexibility by holding her leg straight all the way out the window. Fans noted that it was good to see Madonna get praised after being bashed for most of the year.

Woman of the Year

Madonna’s speech on feminism and misogyny earned her more praise than anything else from the past 10 years. [Image by Evan Agostini/AP Images]

Billboard named Madonna their “Woman of the Year” for 2016, and when the Queen of Pop accepted her award, she gave a speech that left the audience in tears (in a good way). After Madonna’s acceptance speech went viral, millennial feminists, who have spent the past several years bashing Madonna, sung her praises. To many, Madonna’s speech was one of the most important speeches on misogyny, feminism, and double standards that has ever been given. Let’s hope Madonna has more moments like this in 2017.

[Featured Image by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images]

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