Folks all over the world watching the MTV Video Music Awards have been left baffled by Madonna's tribute to Aretha Franklin, which only seemed to highlight the 60-year-old singer's questionable understanding of what a tribute actually is.
Why, yes. Before she got to the point (she sang (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman acapella at an audition of yore), Madonna meandered through references to Paris, poverty, guitar lessons and finally her backside hanging out at a VMAs show after breaking a stiletto.
MTV asked Madonna to honour Franklin, who died on 16 August, during her introduction for the video of the year victor announcement. She talked of the rejection she faced felt that: "Fortunately, one of my favorite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin". "R-E-S-P-E-C-T", she said. "Long live the queen". The singer recalled in great detail her rough upbringing in Detroit, where she said she was often mistaken for a "prostitute" while walking up her third-story apartment building that she described as a "crack house".
She also managed to squeeze in a quick reference to her legendary performance of "Like a Virgin" at the 1984 VMAs, where she rolled around on the stage in a white wedding dress and bared her backside. "I heard the pay was better". "Not enough", she continued. "Madonna has been entitled + gentrifying [black] things for a LONG time", she tweeted. While many griped that she made it all about herself, others took issue with the fact that MTV chose Madonna in the first place for the tribute, rather than a black artist. You honor a legend by telling their story or SHUT UP.
Some Franklin fans took to Madonna's own Twitter page to protest the tribute.
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Waldron, who worked for the singer from 2014 to 2016, told the Detroit television station he's maintained a friendship with her. Her most recent performance was in November previous year at Sir Elton John's Aids Foundation's 25th anniversary gala in NY .
Madonna ruined the Aretha Tribute on the #VMAs in 2018.
Cabello then collected the biggest award of the night for her Havana video with a bow to Madonna, dedicating the trophy to, you guessed it, Madonna.
"You do not disrespect an ICON like that", wrote Nina Parker on Twitter.
There was a change of costume and tone - not to mention fake falling snow - as she sang "Jenny From the Block" and was joined by Ja Rule for "I'm Real" and "Ain't It Funny".
One person used a GIF of Franklin to call the tribute "lies, lies and more lies". "You are my macho, and I love you".