Madonna Compares Herself to Fellow "Rebel Hearts" Nelson Mandela, MLK Jr.

Mert Marcus

In the hours since they were posted to Twitter and Instagram, the images have provoked hundreds of user comments

Madonna's Rebel Heart album artwork, which shows the pop queen's face entangled in black string, has created a slew of memes that have translated the effect to other famous heads, from Marilyn Monroe to Homer Simpson. On Friday (Jan. 2), Madonna went one step further, altering the visages of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley to describe the famous civil rights leaders as "rebel hearts" like herself.

Posted to Madonna's Instagram and Twitter, the iconic images have been tweaked to include the black string and have been given captions such as "This #rebelheart sang about ONE LOVE!" (for Marley) and "This #rebelheart had a dream!" for (MLK Jr.). Later, Madonna added an image of herself to the collection — possibly the single artwork for new song "Living for Love" — with the caption "Shabbat Shalom from this #rebelheart."

In the hours since they were posted to Twitter and Instagram, the images have provoked hundreds of user comments from her 2.6 million Instagram followers and 524,000 Twitter followers, some decrying the pictures as insensitive and others defending Madonna's artistic license. Representatives for the superstar did not immediately return Billboard's request for comment on the images.

Rebel Heart, Madonna's 13th studio album, will be released on Mar. 10. The pop icon shared the album artwork and six tracks, including the lead single "Living for Love," on Dec. 19, days after the leak of more than 10 unreleased demos from the album. Still more demos have leaked online in the interim.

"The reason I wanted to call the record Rebel Heart was because I felt like it explored two very distinct sides of my personality," Madonna told Billboard in a Q&A last month. "The rebellious, renegade side of me and the romantic side of me. In my mind, it was almost like I wanted to do a two-record set."


This article first appeared on Billboard.com

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