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Before she presented the Video of the Year award at the MTV VMAs on Monday night, Madonnamentioned the late Aretha Franklin. But her words didn’t sit well with some fans of the Queen of Soul, who felt the Queen of Pop was way too self-centered in her remarks.
“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life,” she said. “I left Detroit when I was 18…My dream was to make it as a professional dancer. After years of struggling and being broke, I decided to go to audition for musical theater…but…I got cut, and rejected from every audition.”
Rejected, that is, until, Madonna says, she performed Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at an audition. That, she said, put her on the path to stardom.
However, Madonna only said “Aretha” four times during the seven-minute speech, but she uttered the words “I” and “me” more than 50 times.
Unsurprisingly, the tribute didn’t sit well with Franklin’s fans, or black Twitter, which dragged Madonna for filth.
“That 5-7 minute speech was so self-absorbed, it wasn’t funny,” wrote one fan. “It’s disrespectful.”
Madonna responded to the criticism on Instagram, saying her mini-speech was not meant to be a full-fledged tribute to Aretha.
“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!” she wrote. “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 adds, “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.”
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