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Madonna defends controversial Aretha Franklin VMA speech: 'I did not intend to do a tribute'

The Queen of Pop was accused of delivering a 'self-indulgent' anecdote about the late Queen of Soul.

2018-08-22

Madonna has defended her controverisal speech about Aretha Franklin at the MTV VMA Awards, saying she never intended to deliver a direct tribute to the late star.

The Queen of Pop was criticised online during the Award ceremony on Monday night (August 19) after sharing an anecdote about Franklin which focussed mainly on her own life and career.

Madonna was presenting the Video of the Year Award - which eventually went to 'Havana' singer Camila Cabello - when she told the audience how Franklin, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 76, had influenced her.

"Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life," Madonna said, before recalling how he had sung the Queen of Soul's hit 'You Make Me Fell (Like a Natural Woman)' during an audition early in her career.

“I could see that they didn't take me seriously, and why should they?” she continued. "Some skinny-ass white girl is going to come up here and belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers who ever lived? A capella? I said, 'Bitch, I'm Madonna.'

"No, I didn't. I didn't say that. Because I wasn't Madonna yet. I don't know who I was."

Many viewers took to Twitter to accuse Madonna of delivering a "self-indulgent" tribute to Franklin, whose death last week followed a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Madonna later addressed the controversy on Instagram, explaining that she had been asked to share stories about Franklin by VMA bosses, and that the segment hadn't been intended as a direct tribute.

After congratulating Cabello on her win, the 'Living for Love' singer, who celebrated her 60th birthday last week (August 16), wrote: "Just to clarify: I was asked to present video of the year by MTV! And then they asked me to share any anecdotes I had in my career connected to Aretha Franklin!

 

Im with the Winner!! The beautiful @camila_cabello ! So proud of her! 🌈💕🎉. And just to clarify: I was asked to present 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. #vmas #postivevibes

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The 'Living for Love' singer continued: "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."