Madonna is breaking her silence on that disastrous MTV Video Music Awards “tribute” to Aretha Franklin.
After getting plenty of social media blowback over her Monday night speech apparently aimed at honoring the late music icon, the pop star took to Instagram to defend her convoluted remarks, which she made after taking the stage to present the award for Video of the Year. Viewers slammed the singer’s statement for being mostly about herself rather than Franklin, who passed away last week.
Madonna explained (and threw in props for her wild dreamcatcher dress while she was at it): “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 [winner Camila Cabello]! 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.”
That Madonna’s speech wasn’t really a tribute to Franklin is something, at least, that she and her critics can agree on.
In EW’s review of the 35th VMAs, Darren Franich called the proceedings, “a reasonably satisfying awards show, not the boring trainwreck some VMAs have been, not the exciting trainwreck supernova some VMAs dare to be,” and called Madonna’s speech “a demonstrably failed effort to honor Aretha Franklin,” noting, “Her rambling suggested a sudden narrative tangent in an art movie you refuse to understand … It was a ludicrous moment that kept going and going. Surely there are a thousand better ways to honor Aretha Franklin. And yet somehow this moment was the first to feel definable VMA-ish. At long last, we had literally no idea what was going to happen next.”