Why Madonna chose Mykki Blanco to portrait Joan of Arc in Dark Ballet
Madonna didn’t offer Mykki Blanco just any role, but she chose him to portray the legendary French heroine Joan of Arc in her video for Dark
Mykki Blanco met with Madonna in her London home, heard a finished version of her album Madame X (which he calls “a manifestation of Madonna’s imagination”), and was asked to play a role in one of her new music videos.
“She tells me, ‘Based on some of the things that you’ve told me you experienced in this industry and in this society, I feel that some of those things could be a modern-day analogy for Joan of Arc,’” Mykki tells Billboard magazine.
Because think about if you had existed as you in her time — you would have been burned at the stake as well.Madonna
Mykki understands that the Dark Ballet video is surreal and strange, but adds that everything Madonna does has purpose and meaning outside of simple shock value. “We don’t just shoot something or move or flail our arms just for the hell of it,” he says with a laugh. “There’s always a deeper, inner intention.”
Mykki also says that Madonna basically served as an uncredited co-director for the project, advising on acting, choreography, cinematography, and even the costuming of the background extras.
“She’s so invested in every detail of what she does, and when someone’s been doing this for 30 years, especially a pop icon like her, I guess you would expect that,” he says. “Intention is very important to her, that’s what I took away.”
In one particular exchange, according to Mykki Blanco, Madonna even took over a choreography rehearsal, saying that she wanted to try something different for a section of the video. “Within an hour and a half, we had new choreography directly from Madonna,” he says with a laugh. “Madonna‘s a hell of a dancer.”
“She’s not doing me any favors,” Mykki clarifies. “But for her to reach her hand out and lift me up creatively to her level … that does mean something to me. This project has exposed me to an audience that might not have been within my reach.”
Mykki Blanco met Madonna for the very first time last year. Producer Mike Dean had reached asking if he could give Madonna his contact information. Two weeks later, she texted him. Mykki was walking around an IKEA in Lisbon, when, all of a sudden his phone buzzed as a text message came in saying, “Hello, is this Mykki?” When
What started as a simple text conversation turned into an elongated phone call. “I was hiding in a staged kitchenette set in an IKEA with the curtains closed, and we’re talking on the phone for the first time,” he tells Billboard. “So you can imagine how surreal this was for me.”