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Madonna responds to Franklin 'tribute' criticisms


THE FIRST of what is to be many Aretha Franklin tributes has taken place - and some are not too happy with it.

At the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards on Monday (Aug 20), a tribute to the Queen of Soul took place with Madonna taking to the stage. But the star has been met with criticism for using her tribute to speak about her own career and legacy.

The Beautiful Stranger singer presented the award for Video of the Year and gave a 10-minute speech on herself, with only a few references to the Natural Woman songstress and instead focusing on how the famed icon intersected with her life as she struggled to break into the industry and "become Madonna".

"Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life," the 60-year-old shared on stage against a black-and-white backdrop of the late singer. "I left Detroit when I was 18 with 35 dollars in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer after years of struggling and being broke."

Madonna went on to recall a tense audition with a group of men in which she forgot her sheet music and started singing Aretha's hit 1968 song You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman) to salvage the situation.

"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 walk-up that was also a crack house," she continued about her decision to audition.

Finally, the Music hitmaker concluded: "(Franklin) led me to where I am today and I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight. I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. Long live the queen!" and referencing her iconic single Respect. But it was a little too late for some, who took to Twitter to air their grievances at the "disrespectful" tribute.

Since the show aired, many fans and media personalities have shared their confusion at Madonna's 'tribute'.

"I'm so lost. I thought Madonna was supposed to be paying homage to Aretha but all I heard was her paying homage to herself," radio presenter Charlamagne Tha God wrote.

Actress Cynthia Erivo added: "Madonna makes the life and works of Aretha Franklin (Queen of soul), about herself and her rise to fame. Heart was nowhere to be found, ego and privilege reigned supreme. #VMAs."

Madonna has since responded to the criticism insisting she was simply asked to talk about Aretha and what she meant to her.

"just to clarify: I was asked to present video of the year by MTV!" she wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of herself with winner Camila Cabello. "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! 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."

"Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge," she continues. "I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T..."

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