Seven Things You Didn’t Know About The Song “Vogue”

The Madonna song about the fashion magazine is so in right now! But do you know these five little trivia items about the song? Test your knowledge of the Madge hit below, Material Girls!

1. In 2008, Rihanna covered the classic as a part of the 2008 Fashion Rocks presentation. She doesn’t entirely butcher the song but her voice does sound thin and her Rihanna flourishes don’t quite add anything else to the song. The way she sings “Come on! Vogue!” is less of an invitation and more of a call for you to do it so she can stop singing. Much like a high heel that is much too large, the performance stands on its own but isn’t quite right.

2. Funny enough, neither Rihanna nor Madonna invented voguing: they “borrowed” the underground phenomena to mold a hit and performances. As has been widely reported, she may have appropriated the LGBTQ practice in order to make said hit. Read about the history here and why it’s complicated here.

3. Even funnier, contemporary gay magazine OUT via Ri’s nest TeamOfRihanna was a source of re-circulating the cover. Ironically, the magazine gives zero mention of this conflict.

4. Recording artist and queer figure Terre Thaemiltz as DJ Sprinkles released the contemporary house classic “Ball’r (Madonna-Free Zone)” in 2009 as a long overdue protest of the song. The long, open song is a mixture of very deep, mid-tempo house with sample audio from balls. As the song closes, Terre closes out the song with a monologue, declaring: “When Madonna came out with her hit ‘Vogue’ you knew it was over. She had taken a very specifically queer, transgendered, Latino and African-American phenomenon and totally erased that context with her lyrics, ‘It makes no difference if you’re black or white, if you’re a boy or a girl.’ Madonna was taking in tons of money, while the Queen who actually taught her how to vogue sat before me in the club, strung out, depressed and broke. So if anybody requested ‘Vogue’ or any other Madonna track, I told them, ‘No, this is a Madonna-free zone! And as long as I’m DJ-ing, you will not be allowed to vogue to the decontextualized, reified, corporatized, liberalized, neutralized, asexualized, re-genderized pop reflection of this dance floor’s reality!'”

5. Jezebel’s culture editor Julianne Escobedo Shepherd recently wrote a great analysis of Riri’s appropriation, too.< 6. While Jenny Livingston’s documentary Paris Is Burning may be a familiar modern mainstay in voguing history, the work of photographer Chantal Regnault is often forgotten. She captured some of the most revered figures in vogue history and, very recently, shared them in the book Voguing: Voguing And The House Ballroom Scene Of New York City, 1989 – 1992.

7. It has been widely rumored that Madonna wrote the song “Vogue” after eating one too many tacos at Rosa Mexicano in Winter of 1988. Reportedly, the way she scurried away to the restroom was where the idea for the song popped into her head, an event she fondly remembers as an “explosion.”

Come on! Vogue, y’all!

Photo via.

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