In introducing Madonna on Friday at
Billboard's Women in Music 2016 event, where she was named Woman of
the Year, out journalist Anderson Cooper said that her music had
showed him a way forward as a gay teen.
“Madonna is Billboard's Woman of the
Year, but as far as I'm concerned in terms of music and impact and
culture, she's been the woman of the year every year since she
released her first single Everybody in 1982,” Cooper said.
Calling Madonna “revolutionary,”
Cooper talked about what her music meant to him “as a gay teenager
“Her music and outspokenness showed
me as a teenager a way forward. Through her music, she told me and
millions of teenagers – gay and straight – that we are not alone,
we are connected to each other,” he said.
In accepting the honor, Madonna said
that in 1979, when she first moved to New York, it wasn't “safe to
“People were dying of AIDS
everywhere,” Madonna told the crowd. “It wasn't safe to be gay.
It wasn't cool to be associated with the gay community. It was 1979
and New York was a very scary place. In the first year I was held at
gunpoint, raped on a rooftop with a knife digging into my throat and
I had my apartment broken into and robbed so many times I stopped
locking the door. In the years that followed, I lost almost every
friend I had to AIDS or drugs or gunshots.”