Madonna's Aretha Franklin Tribute At VMAs Faces Criticism

Aretha Franklin in the early 1970s
Andrew Kent

Aretha Franklin in the early 1970s Credit Andrew Kent

Madonna presents a tribute to Aretha Franklin, pictured on screen, at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in NY.

The expected tribute to Franklin at the first gathering of top musicians since the singer's death at age 76 last week came at the end of the nearly three hour ceremony. The loss was felt acutely, as all across the nation (and the world) people expressed their condolences and memories of the legendary singer.

Madonna paid tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV VMAs - but her long speech didn't go down well with some viewers who thought she was self-indulgent.

"Madonna recalled the Queen of Soul's influence on her own life and career, recounting how she sang Franklin's hit "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" during one of her first-ever musical theater auditions when she was a struggling, up-and-coming performer. Most of the tribute to Franklin, however, was spent explaining the early origins of Madonna's career.

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The Material Girl, who made her VMA debut in 1984 in a memorable and body-writhing performance of "Like of a Virgin" was all set to the present the award for Video of the Year but as she stepped on the stage, an image of Franklin flashed on the screen behind her. But fans have complained the speech was more about herself, rather than Franklin. "Not enough", she continued. "Our R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen".

"So you're probably all wondering why I'm telling you this story". If this was Madge trying to get us to scream, "Just stop and sing an Aretha Franklin song instead", at the screen, it worked, because that's exactly what I screamed'. "A capella? I said, 'Bitch, I'm Madonna, '" Madonna said, as the audience cheered. We want to bring you to Paris and make you a star.

View some reactions from Twitter users below, and watch Madonna's tribute above.

"Does Madonna know Madonna didn't die", wrote ESPN's Katie Nolan.

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A few of the star's die-hard fans managed to shine a ray of light on the situation though, including one who called the tribute a "Great speech!"

Choir! Choir! is paying tribute to the "Queen of Soul" with a special night of celebration.

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