Madonna defended her long speech at Monday’s MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday, explaining that she “did not intend to do a tribute” to Aretha Franklin with the speech.
“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!” the singer wrote in an Instagram post. “I shared a part of my journey and thanked Aretha for inspiring me along the way.”
Madonna presented Camila Cabello with the Video of the Year award on Monday night but entered the stage with a portrait of Franklin projected on the screen behind her. She opened with an anecdote about singing Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” at an audition, a long and roaming story that seemed more relevant to Madonna’s life and career than to Franklin’s.
Viewers at home roasted Madonna on social media, complaining that the speech did a disservice to the late soul singer, robbing her of the proper tribute she deserved.
“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,” Madonna wrote in her Instagram post. “I could never do her justice in this context or environment.”
“Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge,” she continued. “I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”
See some of the tweets about Madonna’s speech below.
Transcript of Madonna's "tribute" to Aretha Franklin.
The green portions are about Aretha. The red is Madonna talking about Madonna. pic.twitter.com/t8kSTSg326
— Marshall Hook (@marshallhook) August 21, 2018
So all the black artist they could call to talk about the legacy of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and MTV brought out Madonna to mention Aretha one time in her long ass story???? #VMAs D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T. pic.twitter.com/9wAmpxH74k
— JoiBella ?? (@joibella19) August 21, 2018
does Madonna know Madonna didn’t die
— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) August 21, 2018
Madonna made Aretha Franklin's death about herself and her own musical journey, and honestly, this is some of the whitest shit I have ever seen. #VMAs
— Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl) August 21, 2018
Aretha watching Madonna’s tribute to her from heaven …. pic.twitter.com/fuMkCCf1AT
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 21, 2018
Aretha spirit exiting this VMA ceremony pic.twitter.com/TdWu6HUVRb
— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) August 21, 2018