2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, and to honor half a century of LGBTQ liberation, World Pride will be celebrated in NYC throughout June, culminating in the Pride March, which set a new route in 2018 in anticipation. Greenwich Village gay bar and historic landmark Stonewall Inn got the celebration started early; they named Madonna “Stonewall Ambassador” just over a week ago, and she made a surprise appearance at the bar just minutes after 2019 was rung in, performing two songs with her adopted son, David Banda, on acoustic guitar.
Wearing black jeans, a black shirt, a black leather jacket with glittering chains and a shiny bow in her hair, Madonna took the tiny stage saying, “I just wanna say I’ve never performed on a stage this small!” The enraptured crowd cheered wildly, obscuring some of her words.
“You survived 2018? Are you happy to say ‘Goodbye bitch’?,” she laughed before saying, “I do have some serious things to say.” She donned a pair of horn-rimmed glasses — “2019 is the year I start wearing glasses,” she joked — and read from cards emblazoned with rainbow colors on the back.
“I stand here proudly at the place where pride began, the legendary Stonewall Inn, on the birth of a new year. We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution.”
She then spoke of the community’s efforts against “hatred, discrimination and most of all indifference. Let’s never forget the Stonewall Riots and those who stood up and said, ‘Enough.’ Half a century later, Stonewall has become a defining moment and a critical point in history.
“If you can’t imagine how happy I am to return home to New York City, where dreams are born and forged out of fire and brought to life, where I am proud to say that my journey as an artist began, and my commitment to equality for all people took root,” she continued.
“If we truly took the time to get to know one another we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved,” she concluded. “Let’s remember who and what we are fighting for — ourselves, for each other, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for?” she asked rhetorically. “Let’s take a minute to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019, let’s look at how we can bring random acts of kindness. Maybe we can find an opening to bring the light in. Are you ready to do that?”
Watch videos from Madonna’s appearance, including her performances of “Like a Prayer” and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” below.