Madonna, Pussy Riot Speak at Human Rights Concert
Instead of singing, Madonna and Pussy Riot spoke with passion about human rights issues at a concert for Amnesty International.
Madonna told the crowd of thousands Wednesday night that she received death threats for standing up for Pussy Riot, a Russian protest punk band, when two of its members were arrested for hooliganism after staging a protest in a Russian church in 2012.
"The right to be free, to speak our minds, to have an opinion, to love who we want to love, to be who we are - do we have to fight for that?" the pop icon said, answering her own question with an expletive. "I’ve always considered myself a freedom fighter since the early ’80s when I realized I had a voice and I could sing more than songs about being a material girl or feeling like a virgin. And I have definitely paid for and have been punished for speaking my mind and for sticking my neck out for this kind of discrimination. But that’s OK."
At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Madonna introduced Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were released from prison in December and made their first public appearance in the U.S. on Tuesday. They spoke through a translator at the "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert, telling the audience they were grateful to be free but have to continue to fight to save others who are imprisoned.
Alekhina and Tolokonnikova, who wore T-shirts featuring cross designs, thanked supporters for sending letters while they were in jail and Amnesty International for its mission to protect human rights.