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21 August 2018, 09:12 | Updated: 21 August 2018, 09:15
People thought Madge’s tribute was too focussed on herself.
Last night’s MTV VMAs fell just four days after the death of musical legend Aretha Franklin, so it would only be right for the music event to pay tribute – but fans were not happy with Madonna’s tribute.
Aretha Franklin passed away on Thursday of pancreatic cancer aged 76, and Madonna paid tribute to the soul star before she presented Camila Cabello with the award for Video Of The Year.
She took to the stage and told the crowd, “Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life. 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.
“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.
“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 theatre, 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.
“I had to think fast, my next meal was on the line. Fortunately one of my favorite 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.'
“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, ‘B***h, 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.
“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 well as the cameras catching a very shady man literally removing his sunglasses in frustration at Madonna’s never ending monologue, people watching the show took to Twitter to complain.
Seriously I'm so over MADONNA 🙄🙄🙄🙄 She's "honoring" Aretha Franklin & making the story all about her...Funny she did the same thing when Michael Jackson died & she opened the VMA's with a speech & it was about her...I just can't anymore with her! Aretha or Madonna 🤦🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/QXzfeAwJh0— Jessica Lynn 🦋 (@jessilynn1123) August 21, 2018
Im sorry, I love Madonna...but her telling a 5 minute story about herself was not the right time to honor Aretha Franklin. Wow..... So shocked. #vmas— Isis King (@MsIsisKing) August 21, 2018
What a touching tribute to Aretha Franklin where Madonna talked about her goddam self for like 30 mins— KFC (@KFCBarstool) August 21, 2018
Travis Scott gave a better Aretha Franklin Tribute than Madonna and All he said was RIP Aretha Franklin. #VMAs— Trey Lawrence (@_TreyLawrence) August 21, 2018
Madonna gave herself a tribute featuring Aretha.— LoveYourself (@ScottieBeam) August 21, 2018
Madonna has yet to comment on the complaints she has received for talking more about herself than Aretha in the tribute.