Friday, February 7
(Brooklyn, NY) -- Madonna isn't letting her freedom of speech go unexercised. The Queen of Pop was on hand at the Amnesty International concert at the Barclays Center Wednesday night, where she delivered a lengthy introduction for members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot. "Billboard" has published a portion of her speech online, in which she made her opposition against Russian President Vladimir Putin crystal clear. She said she was "shocked and outraged" when Putin's "regime" put the band on trial for their demonstration back in 2012 and didn't hesitate to publicly support them onstage the next day at her concert. Madonna also commented on the Russian government's attempt to block her show because it "promoted homosexuality," which she proudly noted is something she's "been known to do."
Madonna thanked Amnesty International and the "millions of voices" around the world for supporting the release of the jailed band members before calling the women on stage to address the crowd. Performers at the event included Imagine Dragons, Cold War Kids, The Fray, Cake, Blondie, Lauryn Hill, Tegan & Sara and the Flaming Lips.