Madonna Clarifies the Meaning Behind Her Bizarre VMAs Aretha Franklin Speech
As is par for the course, Madonna was the talk of the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards Monday night (August 20), where the pop icon delivered a seemingly bizarre eulogy for the late Aretha Franklin during her presentation of the Video of the Year award.
Before announcing Camila Cabello's big win of the evening, the Queen of Pop launched into a personal story about her connection to the Queen of Soul, revealing she once successfully auditioned to join another artist on tour by singing Franklin's classic "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman."
"None of this would have happened — could have happened — without our Lady of Soul. She led me to where I am today," Madonna explained. "And I know she influenced so many people in this house night. In this room tonight. And I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us."
Naturally, Twitter jumped on Madonna, accusing her of making the moment about herself rather than delivering a proper tribute for the icon, who passed away August 16. As it turns out, however, Madonna was never supposed to deliver a tribute, and her speech was not meant to serve as a traditional eulogy, either.
On social media, the artist explained that the speech was simply a last minute request from MTV for her to share a personal anecdote about Franklin's impact on her.
"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," Madonna wrote.
"I shared a part of my journey and thanked Aretha for inspiring me along the way," she continued. "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."