Madonna’s tribute to Aretha Franklin at the VMAs was... something

August 21, 2018 GMT

Madonna’s tribute to Aretha Franklin at the VMAs was... something

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Madonna’s tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards is, well, causing a commotion.

Dressed in traditional African clothing, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was supposed to honor the Queen of Soul, who died of cancer last week. Instead, she delivered a puzzling speech that was more about herself than Franklin.

“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life,” she began. “I had no training or dreams ever ever becoming a singer, but I went for it.”

She continued, “I got cut, and rejected from every audition. Not tall enough. Not blend-in enough, not 12-octave-range enough, not pretty enough, not enough, enough,” before recalling how she lived in a crack house and was once robbed at gunpoint.

After several minutes of her recounting the (uplifting?) story of how she was discovered, Madonna finally brought it back around to Franklin.


#VMAs: The Queen of Pop @Madonna pays tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin: “I want to thank you, Aretha for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen.”— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 21, 2018

“You are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story. There is a connection, because none of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul,” she said. “She lead 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.”

Madonna, you may recall, was also criticized for her tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. Perhaps next time, producers better think about giving her another shot at one of these.

does Madonna know Madonna didn’t die— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) August 21, 2018

Me: It’s weird that #Madonna is doing a tribute to Aretha Franklin, but what’s the worst that could happen?Madonna:— Brittany Stephanis (@bmstephanis) August 21, 2018

I’m so lost. I thought Madonna was supposed to be paying homage to Aretha but I all heard was her paying homage to herself. HEAVY on the Mayonnaise......— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) August 21, 2018

Madonna gave herself a tribute featuring Aretha.— LoveYourself (@ScottieBeam) August 21, 2018

“If it wasn’t for Aretha, we wouldn’t have Madonna”- Madonna— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) 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.— April (@ReignOfApril) August 21, 2018