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Madonna, Elton, Stevie Wonder Defend Eminem

Fellow artists rally behind controversial rapper, as gay-rights leader decries bisexual John’s planned duet with him on ‘Stan.’

“Evil” is how one leading gay-rights activist described Elton John’s decision to perform with Eminem at Wednesday night’s Grammy awards.

But artists from Madonna to Stevie Wonder stood up in support of the controversial rapper on the eve of the music industry’s biggest night.

“Since when is offensive language a reason for being unpopular?” Madonna wrote in a note signed “Mrs. Ritchie.” “I like the fact that Eminem is brash and angry and politically incorrect. At least he has an opinion. He’s stirring things up, he’s provoking a discussion, he’s making people’s blood boil. He’s reflecting what’s going on in society right now. That is what art is supposed to do.”

R&B legend Stevie Wonder wrote that although he doesn’t agree with a lot of what Eminem raps about, he supports his music.

“Rap to me is a modern blues – a statement of how and where people are at,” Wonder wrote. “I think art is a reflection of our society, and people don’t like to confront the realities in society. We dance forever around the issues, and [embrace] songs about unity and love. But until we really confront the truth, we are going to have a Tupac or Eminem or Biggie Smalls to remind us about it – and thank God. They force people to look at realities in society. That doesn’t mean their reflection is my reflection.”