The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin passed away on the 16th of August 2018 at the age of 76. Since then, there has been tribute after tribute for the fallen singer
And come the VMAs, it seemed fitting initially to have another icon pay tribute to her in the person of Madonna, who incidentally turned 60 on Aretha Franklin’s death day.
The singer took to the stage to pay tribute to Franklin, but instead made almost the entire speech about herself
Where people expected to hear glowing words about the first woman to make it into the Rock n Roll hall of fame and a woman who had a career spanning over 40 years, they got instead anecdotes of how Madonna made it to stardom. Madonna was the main character of her story, Aretha Franklin was relegated to the role of bit-part player.
Madonna dived into a story of an audition she went for where she had to perform a hit from Franklin (You make me feel like a Natural woman)
“I could see that they did not take me seriously, and why should they?” Madonna said of the music producers running the audition. “Some skinny ass while girl is going to come up here and belt out a song from one of the greatest soul singers who ever lived a capella?”
“I said, ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna,’” she told the crowd at Radio City Music Hall“No, I didn’t, I wasn’t Madonna yet. I don’t know who I was.”
Minutes went by and Madonna was still talking about herself
She did eventually circle back to Aretha Franklin, but it seemed like a case of too little too late; “None of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul,” Madonna said. “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.”
People were naturally displeased with this self-indulgent behaviour and they reacted on Twitter. You can see some of the reactions below
You do not disrespect an ICON like that. This is a jovial kiki about Madonna’s broken ass journey. You honor a legend by telling their story or SHUT UP. The AUDACITY.
— Nina Parker (@MzGossipGirl) August 21, 2018
MTV: We'd like you to give a tribute to Aretha Franklin
Madonna: Great, so this is how I got my career started…
MTV: No, no, a tribute to Aretha
Madonna: So I said "bitch, I'm Madonna"
MTV: This isn't about you madge
Madonna: Look at my African jewelry #VMAs
— lgreene91 (@lgreene91) August 21, 2018
— 💧 ɹɐɯʎɐɹ ʎuoɥʇu∀ 💧 (@AR_Different) August 21, 2018
I hope the vmas plan to issue a public apology for allowing Madonna to disrespect Aretha Franklin's legacy like that #VMAs
— Kia Kia (@kiiajai) August 21, 2018
Travis Scott gave a better Aretha Franklin Tribute than Madonna and All he said was RIP Aretha Franklin. #VMAs
— Trey Lawrence (@_TreyLawrence) August 21, 2018
Madonna talking about guitar lessons, Paris baguettes and her ass hanging out while she looked for a stiletto with the image of Aretha Franklin behind her is everything I expected from the #VMAs
— Kingsley (@kingsleyyy) August 21, 2018
That was such an awkward tribute to Aretha Franklin. I was hoping Madonna would talk a liiiiiiiitle less about herself and more about Aretha but idk lol 🤦♀️🤷♀️
— Kathleen Lights (@KathleenLights1) August 21, 2018
— Eddie Gaona (@eddiegaona) August 21, 2018
As a lifelong Madonna fan it pains me to say this…but this is what happens when you don't have anyone in your life who tells you that you shouldn't do something or tells you that you're acting out of control.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 21, 2018
Madonna ruined the Prince Tribute on the Billboard Awards in 2016.
Madonna ruined the Aretha Tribute on the #VMAs in 2018.
I really never want to see her again. Ever. pic.twitter.com/rp6QCql3aR
— April (@ReignOfApril) August 21, 2018
You can check out the full list of winners for the VMAs here