The death of Aretha Franklin still continues to inspire tributes from across the world, and the MTV VMAs are no different.
At the ceremony on Monday, Madonna gave a tribute to the Queen of Soul. But fans have complained the speech was more about herself, rather than Franklin.
Madonna launched into a long-winded anecdote about the start of her career before presenting the Video of the Year award — Camila Cabello won, in case you’re wondering.
“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life. I left Detroit when I was 18, $35 in my pocket,” she said.
“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 heard the pay was better.”
Madonna continued to talk about her early-career struggles, like getting robbed, and being “mistaken for a prostitute in her third floor walk-up, that was also a crack house.”
She then spoke about how she went for a backup singing role for a French disco producer, but forgot to prepare a song at the audition.
Finally, the story was brought back to Franklin. She explained she knew the soul icon’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” off by heart, and performed it a capella, helping her career to take off.
“None of this would’ve happened, could’ve happened without our lady of soul. She led me to where I am today,” Madonna said.
The internet wasn’t so thrilled at the long-winded anecdote, saying that the tribute was disrespectful.
You do not disrespect an ICON like that. This is a jovial kiki about Madonna’s broken ass journey. You honor a legend by telling their story or SHUT UP. The AUDACITY.
— Nina Parker (@MzGossipGirl) August 21, 2018
That was such an awkward tribute to Aretha Franklin. I was hoping Madonna would talk a liiiiiiiitle less about herself and more about Aretha but idk lol 🤦♀️🤷♀️
— Kathleen Lights (@KathleenLights1) August 21, 2018
Madonna gave herself a tribute featuring Aretha.
— LoveYourself (@ScottieBeam) August 21, 2018
I’m so lost. I thought Madonna was supposed to be paying homage to Aretha but I all heard was her paying homage to herself. HEAVY on the Mayonnaise……
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) August 21, 2018
Madonna presents an Aretha Franklin tribute by Madonna featuring Madonna with Madonna and Madonna as “Madonna”
— Marc (@MarcSnetiker) August 21, 2018
“If it wasn’t for Aretha, we wouldn’t have Madonna”- Madonna
— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) August 21, 2018