Madonna has denied claims that she was racist after she posted altered photos of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. on social media that looked similar to her photo for the cover of her new album, “Rebel Hearts." The 56-year-old singer released a statement late Friday night stating that she was not comparing herself with the famous personalities.

The singer faced criticism from several fans after she posted the photos on her social media accounts, with black strings on the faces of Mandela and Luther King Jr. Madonna said in the statement that she was only trying to acknowledge that they were rebels and denied claims that the posts were racist. She said that she had also posted altered photos of other famous people who were not black.

"I'm sorry… I'm not comparing my self to anyone…I'm admiring and acknowledging there Rebel Hearts,” Madonna said in the statement, adding that she had also posted similar altered photographs of American singer Michael Jackson, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and actress Marilyn Monroe. “This is niether a crime or an insult or racist!”

Madonna also defended her fans, who had posted the photos, saying that they “aren’t racist either.”

Here are some tweets from social media users who criticized Madonna’s posts.