Madonna Has Taken to Instagram to Defend Her Much-Critiqued ‘Tribute’ to Aretha Franklin
Following last night’s VMAs, Madonna has been lambasted by many for an Aretha Franklin tribute that was mostly about a different famous singer — mainly, Madonna. But now the Queen of Pop has spoken out, defending her speech and saying it was never intended as a tribute to Franklin. Instead, following the Madonna VMAs speech at issue, she says she was merely asked to relay an anecdote connected to Franklin.
Before presenting the Video of the Year Award, Madonna came onstage following a short clip of Aretha Franklin singing “I Say a Little Prayer.” The Madonna VMAs appearance began by saying “Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life.” (Sounds like a tribute to us.)
After a few cheers, Madonna then launched into a story about starting her career, when she had to try hard to get auditions. Once she was invited to Paris to audition as a backup singer and dancer for a “French disco sensation.” At that audition she sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” a hit song for Aretha Franklin written by Carole King, Gerry Goffin and Jerry Wexler. Since the pianist didn’t know it, she had to sing the song acapella.
The story was overly long and ultimately had very little to do with Aretha Franklin. It turns out that singing “A Natural Woman” not only didn’t get Madonna the gig, but also didn’t play a role in setting her up to become a star.
After online outcry following the Madonna VMAs speech, the pop icon took to social media to defend herself, writing, “I did not intend to do a tribute to her! That would be impossible in two minutes with all the noise and tinsel of an award show. I could never do her justice in this context or environment.”