Music

Chuck D Speaks Up in Madonna’s Defense: ‘Ageism Sometimes Gets Like Racism’

Chuck D knows all about the rigors of performing your songs four decades on. That might explain why the 63-year-old Public Enemy frontman took to X early Thursday morning (Jan. 4) to defend Madonna against ageist trolls who’ve complained about the singer’s performance on her career-spanning Celebration Tour.

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“At 63 i know i can bike better than i ever did and Pilates aint easy but i give it to @Madonna for pushing the bars,” D said of the 65-year-old “Vogue” singer. “[Public Enemy rapper] @FlavorFlav is taking Pilates too and hes 64,” D added of his excitable hype man. “So ageism sometimes gets like racism both ways if you let it. For anyone over 50 the rule is either you do the songs or the songs do you. @Madonna has some hard songs to perform in her catalogue.”

While it was unclear why D posted his comment, it came after an X user posted a clip on Wednesday of Madonna performing “Ray of Light” during one of her Celebration concerts while tethered to a grab bar on a square platform the singer uses to hover well above the arena floor. The not-unusual safety measure is often employed for such a high-flying stunt and the close-up video in question does not give the full context of how far off the ground Madonna is during the song.

Madonna and Public Enemy have a long history, dating back to the singer’s 1990 The Immaculate Collection greatest hits album, which featured the slinky “Justify My Love.” The song written by Lenny Kravitz and Ingrid Chavez features a drum sample from PE’s “Security of the First World” from the fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ landmark 1988 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back album.

At press time it did not appear that Madonna has responded to D’s post.

Check out Chuck D’s tweet below.

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