Madonna is starting to look something like a creepy uncle who doesn’t know when to quit with the pinching, kissing and too-long hugs. Over the weekend, the iconic singer launched a reportedly impromptu smooch on Drake during a performance at Coachella. During his song “Madonna,” she appeared onstage to cheers and launched into a medley of her hits. So clearly, she was invited, as Drake sat on a chair in the middle of the stage to enjoy the show.
Before walking offstage, however, she tipped the singer’s head back and planted one on him. He attempted to reciprocate by reaching up to caress her head. She swatted his hand away as if to say, ‘No, I’m kissing you.’
Drake’s reaction to receiving the mouth swab from the singer suggests the kiss wasn’t that enjoyable. To put it plainly, he looked ill, like he’d just accidentally taken a swig from a carton of sour milk.
Some have argued that it was the age gap that caused Drake to look so grossed out post-kiss. (Drake is 28, Madonna 56.) But they’re missing the point (not to mention being sexist jerks). The kiss was cringey because of that swat and the message Madonna was sending: “I’m kissing you whether you like it or not.” That’s what appeared to change Drake’s reaction from “Yeah, let’s do this” to “Yuck.”
I don’t blame him. On those terms, I wouldn’t enjoy a kiss from Charlie Hunnam.
The Drake kiss comes on the heels of another kind of unnecessarily cringey moment for Madonna’s fans. Last week, the singer appeared on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and, during a performance of her new song, Bitch I’m Madonna, pulled a male audience member up and out of his seat, mashed his face against her crotch twice, and then tossed him back against another audience member. The audience member looked a bit shocked and embarrassed, but genuinely tried to be a good sport about being made to look like a mindless, disposable prop in Madonna’s show.
The Drake kiss and the pelvic thrust into the face of an unsuspecting fan suggests that Madonna’s act is more than stale; it’s creepy and out of touch. Female empowerment and the fight for equality are not the same thing as dominance—even within the context of a stage performance. Madonna wouldn’t just be wise to recognize that, she might even be able to make a positive difference in achieving the infinitely desirable result of sexual equality.
UPDATE: Drake has set the record straight on his Instagram saying, “Don’t misinterpret my shock!! I got to make out with the queen Madonna and I feel