MTV VMAs: Viewers Rip Madonna for ‘Shameful’ Aretha Franklin Tribute

Madonna VMAs Tribute to Aretha Franklin (Credit: YouTube)

The MTV Video Music Awards were the first big awards show since Aretha Franklin passed away last week. So, naturally fans expected a tribute to the Queen of Soul.

Instead, what they got on Monday night’s show was a rambling speech from Madonna about her humble start as a singer, living in a crack house and being inspired by Franklin’s music.

Wearing a flowing black robe with African-inspired jewelry, the pop superstar delivered her awkward tribute just before presenting the video of the year award to Camila Cabello.

Read MoreFox News Apologizes for Confusing Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle

With a giant picture of Franklin behind her, Madonna spoke at length about her dream of becoming a performer, living in a “third-floor walk-up that was a crack house” and an audition where she performed Franklin’s iconic single (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life,” Madonna told the audience. “I left Detroit when I was 18 – 35 dollars in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer. After years of struggling and being broke, I decided to go to auditions for musical theater…”

Angry viewers took to Twitter to complain that the Queen of Pop spent more time talking about herself than the Queen of Soul.

Madonna responded to the criticism Tuesday in a statement on Instagram.

“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,” she wrote. “Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge. I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”

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

The Justify My Love singer’s statement came after angry viewers took her to task on social media during the VMAs.

“Aretha deserved better…That vma tribute was confusing, selfish and shameful,” one person tweeted

Another person added: “MTV did Aretha wrong. That tribute or lack there of was straight trash.”

“The Least y’all could have done was play a VIDEO montage of Aretha’s performances,” someone else wrote. “ I didn’t want to hear about Madonna’s come up.”

Franklin died Thursday at age 76, after battling pancreatic cancer. Her funeral service and public viewings will be held later this month in Detroit.

You can read more reactions to Madonna’s tribute below.

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