Madonna on Tuesday responded to criticism of her tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards, saying she “did not intend to do a tribute to her,” but was asked by producers to “share any anecdotes” she had about the late singer.
Social media lacerated Madonna’s VMA speech for using the occasion to recall the origins of her own career and how it took off due to a failed audition singing Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Twitter users took issue with the singer’s focus on herself more than the Queen of Soul.
She did bring it back around to Franklin at the end of her speech, when she added, “I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen.” But for most folks on social media – it was too little, too late.
Taking to Instagram with congrats for video of the year winner Camila Cabello, Madonna explained her intentions with the segment.
“Just to clarify: I was asked to present video of the year by MTV!,” she wrote. “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!”
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