Fans of Aretha Franklin were enraged by Madonna’s tribute to the Queen of Soul during Monday night’s 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, and for good reason, too. Madonna mostly talked about herself, rather than about Franklin, who, during her historic career, created a lane for countless pop, R&B, and soul singers.
Walking on stage as an image of Franklin was displayed behind her, Madonna instead shared a long story about herself.
“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life. I left Detroit when I was 18. Thirty-five dollars in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer,” Madonna said, per Entertainment Tonight.
She didn’t even mention Franklin until the end of the speech: “So, you are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story. There is a reason, because none of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul,” Madonna said, continuing, “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.”
Now, after Madonna the internet dragged and roasted her for her speech, she’s responded. The singer took to Instagram to share a photo of herself with the winner of Video of the Year, Camila Cabello, writing, “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.”
The Queen of Soul passed away last Thursday at the age of 76. Reports had been circulating for days that the musical icon was gravely ill. She died at her own home, in hospice care, according to the Associated Press.