MADONNA has spoken about her bizarre Aretha Franklin “tribute” — claiming it was never meant to be a tribute in the first place.
After being roundly criticised for making the soul legend’s death about herself at the VMAs yesterday, the Material Girl took to Instagram to defend herself.
“I was asked to present video of the year by MTV!” Madonna wrote alongside a photo of her and award winner Camilla 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!” she continued. “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.”
During the awards show, Madonna delivered a long and rambling story about her early days as a singer, only connecting it to Franklin, who died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at age 76, at the very end before finally presenting Cabello with the video of the year VMA.
Finally revealing that singing Natural Woman at an audition changed her life, Madonna said, “So you’re probably all wondering why I’m telling you this story. 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.”
As she was when she delivered a similar speech about Prince following his death, Madonna was heavily criticised on social media for seeming to make the moment about herself.
But, despite feeling the need to defend herself on Instagram, she said she was not going to let the haters get to her.
“I Love Camilla! Congrats!” she wrote in conclusion. “I LOVE my dress! AND. I love-L O V E! ♥️ and there is nothing anyone can say or do that will change that.”