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Madonna loses fans after altering photos of MLK and Nelson Mandela (PHOTOS)

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Madonna takes her #rebelheart to a new level by using MLK for her marketing campaign

Madonna raised eyebrows when she used images of black civil rights icons to promote her new album. Did the media-savvy star make a misstep, or did she execute the perfect publicity stunt?

In the 30-plus years Madonna has been in the business, she has proven herself as the Queen of Controversy — but this time, she may have gone too far, even for her.

To promote her new album Rebel Heart, Madonna posted a series of artwork on her Instagram account showing portraits of black civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Marley and Nelson Mandela with black cords tied around their faces in imitation of her record cover.

More: Madonna's new song leaks, and she shows her anger on Instagram

Here's her reveal of the Rebel Heart album artwork:

Happy New Years! #unapologeticbitches u#rebelheart

A photo posted by Madonna (@madonna) on

Then this happened:

This #rebelheart had a dream!

Een foto die is geplaatst door Madonna (@madonna) op

This#rebelheart fought for freedom!

A photo posted by Madonna (@madonna) on

This#rebelheart sang about ONE LOVE!

Zdjęcie zamieszczone przez użytkownika Madonna (@madonna)

More: Madonna's new Instagram pic is the pits

And, predictably, people lost their minds.

Our take? Madonna knows exactly what she's doing and is laughing it up as her assistant tallies up the Google alerts on her stunt. Well played, Madge.

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