Madonna's self-indulgent tribute to Aretha Franklin gets criticised by fans

Tanya Cunningham
August 21, 2018

MTV asked Madonna to honour Franklin, who died on 16 August, during her introduction for the video of the year victor announcement.

Aretha Franklin died last week at the age of 76. The loss was felt acutely, as all across the nation (and the world) people expressed their condolences and memories of the legendary singer. While her big break would come later, she said Franklin "led me to where I am today".

The backlash was swift for Madonna's rambling, egocentric tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards, with media and Queen-of-Soul fans wondering why she got the gig in the first place. The Aretha part of the story is that Madge loved one of her albums and warbled out an acoustic version of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman during an audition for some "French disco sensation".

MTV also played a brief clip of Franklin from early in her career.

If they had given that 10 more seconds, and then introduced Madonna, who would've just introduced Artist of the Year or whatever, it would've been fine.

"So instead of an actual tribute to Aretha you let Madonna talk about herself for 30 minutes?! My next meal was on the line", she said. "R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the Queen", Madonna added.

She left performing duties to Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes, who treated fans to his acclaimed single "In My Blood", which chronicles his struggle with anxiety disorder. The singer recalled in great detail her rough upbringing in Detroit, where she said she was often mistaken for a "prostitute" while walking up her third-story apartment building that she described as a "crack house". I thought, 'Why not? "A capella? I said, 'Bitch, I'm Madonna, '" Madonna said, as the audience cheered.


We've assembled the best Twitter reactions (to Madonna's speech and the rest of the VMAs) below for your perusal.

"I love you ty for awesome us with your handsome and powerful speech you're wonderful", another fan added.

"Does Madonna know Madonna didn't die", wrote ESPN's Katie Nolan.

The Queen of Soul will lie in state from 9 a.m.to 9 p.m. on August 28 and 29.

One person used a GIF of Franklin to call the tribute "lies, lies and more lies".

Someone wrote that Madonna's speech demonstrated "a dynamic performance of peak white womanhood".

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