Madonna wants the world to know what it feels like for a girl in a fundamentalist society.
At last Wednesday's concert at Los Angeles' Staples Center as part of her MDNA Tour, the Queen of Pop paid tribute to Malala Yousafzai—the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls' education—by dedicating the song "Human Nature" to her.
"This song is for you, Malala," Madonna said.
Yousafzai was attacked one week ago in Pakistan's Swat Valley while she was returning home from school, injured by a bullet that had passed through her head and lodged in her neck.
Doctors were able to remove it, and she has since been flown to the U.K. for special long-term care to repair her damaged skull. But since she survived, the Taliban have vowed to try and assassinate her again.
Her shooting prompted a global outcry, a sentiment shared by the "Express Yourself" singer who, during her show's nightly striptease sequence, revealed the word "Malala" scrawled across her back.
"This hurt me to the quick and made me cry," Madonna told the sold-out Staples Center crowd, which included such celebrity attendees as Heidi Klum, Neil Patrick Harris and Jessica Alba. "Many of you may know the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot on a school bus for writing a blog about how important education was to her. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her…Do you understand the sickness and uncertainty of this?"
"Support education! Support women!" the 54-year-old hitmaker yelled, receiving raucous cheers in response.
Malala isn't the only political figure to get a shout-out from Madonna. During a gig in Moscow in August, Madge praised the all-female punk-rock band Pussy Riot, two of whose members have been imprisoned for protesting Russian president Vladimir Putin.