15 supremely cinematic music videos that could (and should) be feature films

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“Like A Prayer” – Madonna

Nobody does controversy quite like Madonna, and back in 1989, the pop queen garnered plenty of it because of her music video for “Like A Prayer.” The video has gone down as one of her best, and one of the best videos in history, for that matter.

The video opens with Madonna witnessing a group of men abusing a woman, and when a black man runs to break it up, the police suspect him as the culprit. The woman was left for dead and the black man is held accountable. When he’s arrested, Madonna flees the scene of the crime out of fear and escapes to a church. While she’s there, she sees the caged statue of a saint who resembles the innocent man she saw on the street.

After Madonna wakes up from her dream in the church, she rushes to the police station and tells the police what she saw to have them release the innocent man.

Madonna has said that she wanted to address race issues with the video, originally wanting the story to be about an interracial couple being harassed by members of the KKK. The main reason why this music video was so controversial, though, was because of the religious iconography she uses. For one, she is dancing in front of burning crosses, and in another scene, she accidentally cuts herself and starts bleeding from the palms of her hands — stigmata.