Madonna: Fake guns are symbols of "wanting to appear strong"

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Madonna Performs live during the MDNA tour at Hyde Park on July 17, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Ian Gavan
Madonna performs live during at Hyde Park on July 17, 2012, in London.

(CBS News) Madonna has come under fire for her use of fake guns in her stage show throughout this year's "MDNA" world tour.

Just in time for the launch of the U.S. leg tonight in Philadelphia, the pop star is trying to explain why she has incorporated guns and violence into her live concerts.

Pictures: Madonna

"It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns - but they are used as metaphors," she explained to Billboard in a free verse-style letter.

"I do not condone violence or the use of guns," Madonna added. "Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging."

The 54-year-old singer, who has been on the road behind her latest album, noted, "My show Is a journey. The journey of a soul from darkness to light It is part cinematic musical theatre. Part spectacle and sometimes intimate Performance art."

Madonna's tour wraps in December. She was supposed to visit Australia in 2013, but has decided to spend time with her children instead.

Read Madonna's entire "manifesto" here.