And Finally Artist News Awards

Madonna defends VMAs Aretha Franklin tribute: “I did not intend to do a tribute to her”

By | Published on Thursday 23 August 2018


Madonna has responded to criticism of her tribute to Aretha Franklin at Monday’s MTV VMAs. It wasn’t a tribute at all, she says, just a story that referenced the late singer.

“I was asked to present Video Of The Year by MTV”, she writes on Instagram. “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”, she continues. “That would be impossible in two 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!”

In her speech at the awards show, Madonna told a story about singing an Aretha Franklin song at an audition early on in her own career. Her ability to do this got her the job, but she then sacked it off and did something else instead. She then concluded by saying that none of this would have been possible without Franklin.

With many people assuming Madonna’s bit was intended as a Franklin tribute, said people felt the story somewhat self-centred. But it wasn’t a Franklin tribute, so Madonna was allowed to put herself in the centre, the singer seems to be now saying.

Although even if Madonna did not consider her on-stage ramblings a tribute to Franklin, it seems that the award’s organisers may have. Shortly before the ceremony, executive producer Bruce Gillmer told ET Online that a tribute to Franklin was being worked out, saying: “[We’re] trying to figure out how to put something together that feels right and fitting. We’re scrambling, but we’re focused on it, without question”.