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2018 MTV VMAs: Madonna responds to criticism of Aretha Franklin speech

Update 1:30 p.m. Aug. 21: Madonna indicated that her widely-criticized tribute to Aretha Franklin at the 2018 MTV VMAs was a last minute one.

In Tuesday Instagram post, Madonna said she was asked to present the award for Video of the Year, which went to Camila Cabello. It appears that the anecdote about the role Franklin’s music played in her life was just that -- not a tribute. The post shows Madonna posing with Cabello.

Related: 2018 MTV VMAs: Winners list

“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! 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. I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T”

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Im with the Winner!! The beautiful @camila_cabello ! So proud of her! 🌈💕🎉. 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! 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. I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T. 🙏🏼. I Love Camilla! Congrats! I LOVE my dress! AND. I love-L O V E!! ♥️ and there is nothing anyone can say or do that will change that. #vmas #postivevibes

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on

Original report: One of the biggest nights in music celebrated achievements in music videos, and took some time out to honor the late Queen of Soul.

Close to the very end of the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, the life of Aretha Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 76 Aug. 16, was celebrated. 

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Returning for a commercial break before the end of the show, the show opened with a clip of Franklin performing “Say a Little Prayer” in 1970.

Madonna then walked onstage with a monologue about the inspiration Franklin was to her and how she auditioned in France with a performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

Related: 2018 MTV VMAs: Winners list

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m telling you this story,” she said. “There’s a connection because none of this would have happened -- could have happened -- without our lady of soul. She led me to where I am today and I know 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.”

Related: 2018 MTV VMAs: Red carpet arrivals

The monologue, which many thought Madonna made about herself and not Franklin, was criticized by Twitter users.

 

This isn’t the first tribute to a late musician Madonna was criticized for. Her 2016 tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards was also the subject of Twitter critique.

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