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Madonna repeatedly criticized President-elect Donald Trump, said she was “ashamed to be an American,” flirted with ex-husband Sean Penn and kissed Ariana Grande at a star-studded benefit in Miami Friday night that raised more than $7.5 million for her Raising Malawi charity that she founded to help children in the African nation. The sold-out $5,000-a-head event was the hottest ticket of Art Basel in Miami Beach.
The focus of the evening’s festivities, which promised “An Evening of Art, Mischief and Music,” was a marathon auction where Madonna sold off several of her possessions to benefit Raising Malawi. The African country is close to the pop icon’s heart because that’s where her adopted son, David Banda, is from.
During the auction and concert, Madonna made a number of provocative comments. The staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, who had promised to perform sexual favors for those who voted for the Democratic presidential nominee, revealed she’d “slept in Donald Trump’s bed.”
“Now don’t go jumping to conclusions because he wasn’t in that bed. He wasn’t anywhere near that bed. He wasn’t even in the room. I was just doing a photo shoot in Palm Beach for the Versace campaign in his house,” she said, before criticizing the president-elect’s sheets. “I just want to mention that his sheets were not 100 percent Egyptian cotton. Yes. Cheap slumlord. Here’s what I’m wondering: Do you think he’s going to have nice sheets in the White House? Here’s one thing I’m sure of. They won’t be Egyptian cotton because we all know how he feels about Muslims, don’t we?”
Some audience members gasped at the last remark, but the Queen of Pop wasn’t done. She performed a slowed-down version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and sang, “You know that you’re toxic,” as images of Trump appeared on a large screen behind her.
She also spoke passionately about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed.
“It just really makes me feel ashamed, ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being, really,” she said before launching into “American Life.”
Several of Madonna’s celebrity friends joined her onstage, including supermodel Karolina Kurkova, who modeled the auction’s first lot — a Bulgari Serpenti Diamond white-gold necklace covered in 15.15 carats of pavé diamonds — which was provided by one of the fundraiser’s sponsors, Bulgari. Alex von Furstenberg won the lot for $180,000. Ariana Grande modeled the next lot, a Swarovski crystal-covered dress by Jeremy Scott for Moschino from Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour. Grande did a dance with Madonna, whose ex-husband Sean Penn outbid Grande to win the dress for $160,000. “You can come over and wear it in my place anytime,” Penn told Grande.
Penn later joined Madonna onstage and restrained her with a pair of handcuffs — a nod to their kinky days as a couple — to auction off their wedding photos by the late Herb Ritts, which ultimately went for $230,000.
“For once, he’s not the one being arrested,” the singer joked of Penn, who also crawled thorough her legs at one point as the two tried to coerce the audience to bid higher.
Earlier she poked fun at her longtime manager, Guy Oseary.
“We have so many amazing memories here, don’t we, Guy? Yes. All those parties we had with the Miami Heat? Yes. That three-way you had with Gwyneth and that English actress,” she joked. “He was in that room for 24 hours straight. What the hell were you doing? He was getting many f—s, I guess.”
As for her own love life, Madonna indicated she wasn’t getting nearly as much action.
“He wants me to meet a nice guy,” she said of her son, who introduced her. “It hasn’t happened yet. Dating is hard. It’s weird to think that the love of your life might not be born yet. I’m just kidding. I’m not even dating anyone right now. I’m absolutely, positively 100 percent single. I’m getting zero f—s.”
Madonna also sold off a large chunk of her art collection, which included pieces by Richard Prince, Ai Weiwei, Tracey Emin, Marilyn Minter and Damien Hirst.
Madonna wore clown costumes the whole night and told the audience, “I love clowns because they run around trying so hard to make people laugh. And we need that, right? We need to laugh to survive, so I feel that clowns are deeply underrated and profoundly misunderstood.”
The event, held at the brand-new Faena Forum, attracted the biggest names who were in town, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brett Ratner, Chris Rock, RZA and Paris Hilton.
James Corden, who hosted the benefit, had a few choice words about Miami. “It’s changed a lot since the ‘80s,” said the Late Late Show host. “It used to be all about cocaine, sex and tacky clothes. It still is, but now they’ve got a baseball team.”
After the main event, select guests trickled across the street to the afterparty, held at the penthouse at the Faena, which went until the early hours of Saturday morning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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