2018 VMAs: Madonna Paid Homage to Herself During Her Aretha Franklin Tribute
UPDATE: Madonna has written a statement on her tribute speech to Aretha Franklin.
“And just to clarify: 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! 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!”
Madonna on her controversial Aretha Franklin “tribute” pic.twitter.com/Kv190QRZwa
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 21, 2018
Read the original story below.
What did we just watch?
The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards were broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Monday night (August 20th).
It was one of the strangest VMAs in years. One, that for the most part, put hip-hop and black culture to the back burner.
At times it felt like we were watching an #AllMusicMatters awards show. Sure, Nicki Minaj and Travis Scott performed; Cardi B got some quality screen time; and Ja Rule came out during Jennifer Lopez’ Video Vanguard Award performance; and Logic made the only political statement of the night during his saccharine performance. But the show was more a dedication to classic pop, rather than the number one genre in music.
The show was really centered around pop stars like Camila Cabello — who beat out artists like Drake and JAY-Z and Beyonce to win Video of the Year — Shawn Mendes, Panic! at the Disco, and Hayley Kiyoko.
The strangest moment, however, was the Aretha Franklin dedication. Or the lack of it. For a majority of the show, Franklin wasn’t addressed. The only time came when Travis Scott shouted her out during his performance.
Finally, near the end of show, there was montage of the singer. And then Madonna gave a baffling speech, where instead of talking about Franklin, she just rambled about herself.
She started out by saying “Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life.” And then she told the story of how she came from Detroit to New York early in her career. After telling this story about herself she eventually got back to Aretha, but only talking about how she influenced her career, saying:
“None of this could have happened, would have happened, without this lady of soul…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.”
Scroll down to see a clip of the performances, and some of the best reactions to Madonna’s moment.
Madonna just appropriated all the cultures. pic.twitter.com/wtggU116pk
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) August 21, 2018
Me: It’s weird that #Madonna is doing a tribute to Aretha Franklin, but what’s the worst that could happen?
— Brittany Stephanis (@bmstephanis) August 21, 2018
People are upset about Madonna’s Aretha Franklin tribute at the VMA’s ‘cos it was basically all about her and not Aretha. Whatchu think? Here’s a snippet
— Kenzy Vinco (@KenzyVinco) August 21, 2018
Aretha watching Madonna’s tribute to her from heaven …. pic.twitter.com/fuMkCCf1AT
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 21, 2018
Madonna REALLY went out there in her best cultural appropriation outfit to talk about Queen Aretha Franklin?
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) 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
— ⚡️Justice Ali✨ (@ToniiMagitt) August 21, 2018
— Rachel Magnabosco (@rachel_mag) August 21, 2018
Madonna ruined the Prince Tribute on the Billboard Awards in 2016.
Madonna ruined the Aretha Tribute on the #VMAs in 2018.
I really never want to see her again. Ever. pic.twitter.com/rp6QCql3aR
— April (@ReignOfApril) August 21, 2018