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Rochester Hill's Mayor responds to Madonna's harsh descriptions of the city's residents

Mar 17, 2015

Madonna in concert.
Credit Flickr user M Prince Photography / Flickr

In a recent interview, Madonna called the people of her hometown Rochester Hills "basic, provincial-thinking people."

Mayor Bryan Barnett decided her statement went too far, so he crafted an open letter response that's now being shared all over the Internet.

"The first couple drafts were a little more tart and pointed than the one that I actually submitted," Barnett says.

He didn't expect to change Madonna's opinion, but instead wanted to share his thoughts on the city's accomplishments for those who aren't familiar with the area.

"I've been blessed to be the mayor for almost nine years, and when people take a swipe at the people you represent, I felt an absolute duty to defend them and to defend our community," Barnett says.

The letter highlights how the city and people from it have impacted history. He also points out that Rochester Hills was ranked as one of the top 10 places to live in the country by Money Magazine.

Barnett admits that he can't fully understand the challenging experiences Madonna might have gone through growing up in the community, but he feels her characterization of the people of the city was "unacceptable" and "misguided."

"She's back in town for a concert in October and I'd love to show her how our city has changed in the last 40 years, and I think she would be pretty impressed," Barnett says.