“Does Madonna know Madonna didn’t die?”
Madonna used her appearance at last night’s MTV VMA Awards 2018 to pay tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, however, her speech has caused quite a lot of upset online.
The icon took to the stage to present ‘Video Of The Year’ to Cambila Cabello, when her introduction saw her open up about how The Queen Of Soul (who passed away last week) helped to launch her own career. After receiving her award, Cabello then dedicated it to Madonna.
“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life,” Madonna told the audience. “I left Detroit when I was 18. Thirty-five dollars in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer. After years of struggling and being broke, I decided to go to auditions for musical theatre.”
She continued: “I had no training or dreams of ever becoming a singer but I went for it. 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,” she said. “And then one day a French disco sensation was looking for backup singers and dancers for his world tour. I thought, ‘Why not? The worst that can happen is I can go back to getting robbed, held at gunpoint and being mistaken for a prostitute in my third floor walkup that was also a crackhouse.’ That’s right, I’m a Rebel Heart.”
“So I showed up for the audition and two very large French record producers sat in the empty theater, daring me to be amazing. The dance audition went well. Then they asked me if I had sheet music and a song prepared. I panicked. I had overlooked this important part of the audition process,” she said. “I had to think fast, my next meal was on the line. Fortunately one of my favourite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin. I blurted out ‘You Make Me Feel’… silence. ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.’ Two French guys nodded at me. I said, ‘You know, by Aretha Franklin.’”
Madonna went on: “They looked over at the pianist, he shook his head. ‘I don’t need sheet music,’ I said, ‘I know every word. I know the song by heart, I will sing it a cappella.’ I could see that they did not take me seriously — and why should they? Some skinny ass white girl is going to come up here and belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers that ever lived? And a cappella … I said, ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna.’ No, I didn’t, I didn’t say that. ‘Cause I wasn’t Madonna yet. I don’t know who I was. I don’t know what I said, I don’t know what came over me.”
She added: “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.”
However, a flurry of viewers then took to Twitter to complain about the tribute – with many arguing that Madonna made it “all about her”:
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
does Madonna know Madonna didn’t die
— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) August 21, 2018
I just can’t believe Madonna took Aretha’s moment to do…..that??! Like, woooow. pic.twitter.com/jgW9rfTBO3
— Cee. (@ceedotcee) August 21, 2018
Aretha looking down at Madonna right now like #VMAs pic.twitter.com/fKK54c05rr
— rae 🌼 (@xoraveen) August 21, 2018
is this about aretha or madonna? #VMAs pic.twitter.com/lUn0daoYc3
— im going to see beyoncé (@blackbruja_) August 21, 2018
Did Madonna just make Aretha’s death about her?!
WHERE is Kanye when you need him?! #VMAs pic.twitter.com/3DcDrtPHIb
— The Root (@TheRoot) 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
Camila Cabello got on her knees and praised Madonna and dedicated her undeserved Video of the Year award to her……after Madonna just gave a self-indulgent “tribute” to Aretha Franklin.
And that describes how #VMAs treated Black artists the entire night…
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) 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
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
An Aretha tribute about Madonna #VMAs pic.twitter.com/pfdUSdHeRG
— K (@lilmonster_92) August 21, 2018
Whoever at the #VMAs let Madonna get on stage and give a tribute to @ArethaFranklin or whatever that was really should be out of a job right about…now.
— Alicia Garza (@aliciagarza) August 21, 2018
The VMAs better out RESPECT on Aretha’s name.