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Madonna remembers those she lost to the Aids crisis as she is crowned Billboard’s woman of the year 2016

Ben Dilks December 10, 2016

Madonna remembered the friends she lost during the Aids crisis in a passionate and moving speech as she accepted Billboard’s Woman of the Year award last night.

The pop sensation was recounting the struggles of her early career and life in 1970s New York City.

“People were dying of Aids everywhere. It wasn’t safe to be gay, it wasn’t cool to be associated with the gay community”, she said.

“It was 1979 and New York was a very scary place. In the first year I was held at gunpoint, raped on a rooftop with a knife digging into my throat and I had my apartment broken into and robbed so many times I stopped locking the door. In the years that followed, I lost almost every friend I had to Aids or drugs or gunshots”, the artist recalled.

She used her acceptance speech to highlight the prejudice she has faced throughout her career.

“I stand before you as a doormat,” she began. “Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer. Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.”

Referencing the election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton as US president, the Truth or Dare star ended her remarks with an empowering plea to all women: “Women have been so oppressed for so long they believe what men have to say about them. They believe they have to back a man to get the job done. And there are some very good men worth backing, but not because they’re men – because they’re worthy. As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other’s worth.”

Last month Madonna spent Thanksgiving with homeless children living in an LGBT youth centre.

More: AIDS, aids crisis, billboard, Madonna, Truth or Dare, US

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