MTV had asked Madonna to honour Franklin, who passed away on August 16, during her introduction for the video of the year winner announcement. Most of the tribute to Franklin, however, was spent explaining the early origins of Madonna’s career.
Madonna responds to the backlash following her Aretha Franklin tribute at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday, August 20.
The only mention of Franklin was that Madonna sang “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” to – ultimately unsuccessfully – audition for a song. She credited that failure with launching her into a different opportunity that led to the rest of her career.
She added towards the end of her speech: “I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. Respect. Long live the queen.”
In a lengthy post on Instagram Madonna states that she didn’t intend to do a tribute to Aretha Franklin at the awards ceremony.
The queen of pop says she was asked to present the video of the year award and share any anecdotes she had in her career that were connected to Franklin.
“And just to clarify: I was asked to present a video of the year by MTV! 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. I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T. 🙏🏼. I Love Camilla! Congrats! I LOVE my dress! AND. I love-L O V E!! ♥️ and there is nothing anyone can say or do that will change that.