Most of what I have learned about life has been learned from pop music and pop stars, which might go some way to explaining the often chaotic, sometimes hopeless way that I live.

With that said, there are two artists I can fully rely on to teach me lessons that are straight-forward and fully realised and not just abstracts open to my “suit myself” interpretations. One of those artists is of course, Kanye West. The other is the ever relevant Madonna.

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Madonna is so intensely crucial (to music, to pop culture, to me personally) and this shoot and interview with David Blaine for Interview magazine is yet another insightful window into the existence of a woman who has been at the pinnacle of pop music for almost 40 years.

Here are some essential life rules, extracted from the #UNAPOLOGETICWISDOM of Madonna.

It’s not selfish if it makes you a better person.
TRANSLATION: sometimes you have to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Evolving as a human is a right reason to do a wrong thing.

I was trained that, as a dancer, no matter how much you’re suffering, your face is relaxed.
TRANSLATION: other people are not your bitch, don’t hang your shit on them.

The ritual of prayer isn’t a religious thing as much as it is having a ritualistic moment to acknowledge things and not take things for granted.
TRANSLATION: prayer is not just for Bible thumpers. Prayer is in fact for people in desperate need of some daily chill.

We’re all good, intrinsically, just covered sometimes in filth and darkness, and our job is to get rid of it, to peel back the layers and reveal our goodness.
TRANSLATION: fucking shit up is inevitable, but you are responsible for your own redemption.

You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room; you want to be the dumbest in the room.
TRANSLATION: stupid people will not help you to expand your horizons.

You take your sadness, your despair, your sense of injustice, and you put it in your work.
TRANSLATION: when life gives you lemons, squeeze them into your eyes and cry tears of transformative creativity.

Nos are just as valuable as yeses in the game of life. In fact, they’re essential.
TRANSLATION: a “no” is the doorway to a room filled with a different kind of “yes”. So don’t be disheartened.


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