Madonna has responded to criticism she made an MTV Video Music Awards tribute to Aretha Franklin all about herself, insisting she wasn’t trying to honor the soul legend.
Aretha passed away last week (16Aug18) and on Monday, Madonna appeared at the end of the prizegiving to present the Artist of the Year award, during which she rambled on about her love for her fellow Detroit, Michigan girl and recalled singing Franklin’s hit (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at an audition which launched her career.
“So you’re probably all wondering why I’m telling you this story,” she said. “There’s a connection, because none of this would’ve happened – could’ve happened – without our lady of soul. She led me to where I am today and I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight, and I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-e-s-p-e-c-t. Long live the queen.”
After her speech, many viewers slammed Madonna for making the “tribute” about herself.
“So instead of an actual tribute to Aretha you let Madonna talk about herself for 30 minutes?” one user wrote on Twitter. “@MTV our beautiful black queen deserves better.”
“#Madonna is demonstrating a dynamic performance of peak white womanhood,” another viewer added. “This was not an #Aretha tribute but a monologue on how another iconic Black woman is being reduced to how she helped a white woman.”
Madonna addressed the backlash on Tuesday morning, insisting she was simply asked to talk about Aretha and what she meant to her.
“just to clarify: I was asked to present video of the year by MTV!” she writes on Instagram alongside a picture of herself with winner Camila Cabello. “And then they asked me to share any anecdotes I had in my career connected to Aretha Franklin! I shared a part of my journey and thanked Aretha for inspiring me along the way.
“I did not intend to do a tribute to her! That would be impossible in 2 minutes with all the noise and tinsel of an award show. I could never do her justice in this context or environment.”
“Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge,” she continues. “I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T…”
– Cover Media0