Madonna claims she ‘did not intend to do a tribute’ to Aretha Franklin at the VMAs

I didn’t even scratch the surface of WHY Madonna’s “Aretha Franklin tribute” was so offensive. You know why? Because it was obvious, and because Madonna loves this. She loves the fact that we’re talking about how bloody offensive she was. She loves the fact that she got to stand up there and talk about herself and that we’re still talking about her too. She feeds on this. She always has. The fact that Madonna – of all people – was chosen for the tribute and that MTV didn’t seem to vet this sh-t at all was disturbing enough. But now Madonna is trying to play it like she has no idea why we’re reacting to it. Thus, she ensures another day of coverage. She posted this message on her Instagram:

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

[From Madonna’s IG]

If this seems like an utter lie, that’s because it is. Variety spoke to Jesse Ignjatovic, the executive producer of the VMAs, several days before the show. Ignjatovic spoke about their last-minute plans to pay TRIBUTE to Aretha, saying:

“That’s our big focus now,” Ignatovic says. “Even [considering] how many times she performed here, her connection to MTV in the heyday of music videos on the channel, and just what she means to music. We have our pie-in-the-sky dreams, but she’s one of the all-time greats so we have to do her justice.”

Asked whether the tribute will feature a single performer or an ensemble, it seemed that — not uncommonly for such situations — the final plan is still coming together.

“It could land on either,” he says. “It’s such a scramble to figure out what to do, we have to make sure whatever we do is true to her art. We don’t want to do anything too kooky, it’s got to be organic.”

[From Variety]

Which means that what MTV producers came down to was a tribute (there’s that word again) involving a photo/video array behind Madonna saying words. I bet MTV offered Madonna a script too – even though she’s Madonna, I sincerely doubt they were like “oh, just say whatever you want, we know you’ll be brilliant.” Just as I’m sure that’s what Madonna heard. While I blame MTV – seriously, it’s their signature show and they f–ked it up – Madonna also deserves a decent-sized chunk of the blame too. She made the choice to get up there and turn the tribute into The Madonna Show.


2018 MTV Video Music Awards - Press Room

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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42 Responses to “Madonna claims she ‘did not intend to do a tribute’ to Aretha Franklin at the VMAs”

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  1. Milla says:

    Madonna will always pay tribute to Madonna. Aretha deserves better. She liked Alicia Keys, she should’ve done the tribute.

    • Nancito says:

      And what’s with Madonna’s “Long Live the Queen” – Aretha has just passed. Unless she now thinks that she is the queen. Ya, that’s probably it. Gah!

  2. Snazzy says:

    I still don’t understand What the Heck she is wearing

    • Milla says:

      Well i wanna say boy George mask and all.

      • AnnaKist says:

        Aah, so that’s what it is – I was about to ask what happened to her face. Her. Nose. EEEK! It looks exactly like my corella’s beak. What is the pension age in America? It’s time to retire and collect your bus pass, darl.

      • Kurtz says:

        AnnaKist, I don’t like Madonna much either and I don’t like what she has done to her face, or what she “stands for” (ie. Madonna). But to tell a woman she is too old is just revolting. It is sexist, ageist and I think just reeks of internalised misogyny.

    • Snappyfish says:

      Is this Glitter Crucifixion Barbie?

    • Désirée says:

      It’s very much “inspired” (i.e “copied”) from traditional Berber/Amazigh/Tuareg clothing and jewelry. Look it up on internet, they are absolutely stunning people.

  3. Nancy says:

    Oh my. Listen to the brakes as she backpedals. 🚲

  4. Melania says:

    She’s so dumb.

  5. Sarah says:

    Not today, Madge, not today.

  6. Astrid says:

    Never been a fan of Madonna but this nails it. She’s over when you disrespect Aretha.

  7. HK9 says:


  8. Christin says:

    She probably thought it was to celebrate 35 years of attention seeking. Her debut album was in July 1983.

    She thrives on shock and drama.

    • Deanne says:

      I have always wondered how someone this narcissistic parents. She literally makes everything about herself, in every situation. How does that impact her kids?

      • Sassy says:

        I find that interesting too. Remember the Rocco drama? I have some theories. She likes control. So adopting kids that are aware they were already abandoned which will make them easier to control because of the fear of abandonment thing. If you obey and always say “yes” to her, you’ll have the whole world at your feet. But if you disobey and not show gratitude for how wonderful she is, you could have problems. My theory is that as the children grow up, she will want to add more kids for her control issue thing.

  9. grabbyhands says:

    Team No One.

    Both of them are still desperately clinging to the last shreds of relevancy they have and I’m 100% sure that MTV knew she would pull something like this and hoped the controversy (which is pretty much the only thing it has left to sell) would funnel some attention and ratings their way.

    Unfortunately for MTV, the VMAs broadcast hit a ratings low again. HA! Suffer.

  10. Miss Margo says:

    Whoever made this decision at mtv should be fired.

    • Newmoon says:

      (I didn’t see the show or the clips. I’m just reacting to the headlines and the backlash. So, ya know, I could well be misinformed.)

      If MTV (& Madonna) couldn’t rise to the challenge of paying proper tribute to Aretha Franklin, perhaps it was because she was too good for them. Sad. Maybe it says something about where American cultural entertainment stands today. What we celebrate & what we miss.

      Madonna is hardly aging gracefully. It’s disappointing. She appeared strong to me once. I hate when the strong women with the once-fierce voices fail us with bad plastic surgery & excessive, hedonistic self regard. Traps.

      Ah well, it must be hard to be an aging pop star in this modern world. (Can you imagine?) Our culture isn’t kind to women.

      • Jc says:

        I couldn’t agree more.

        When I was a teenager I thought the “Papa Don’t Preach” video was all that and a bag of chips.

        But even shortly after (so I was a dumb 20-something) when she made that book – I think it was called Sex- she just seemed so desperate to me.

        It’s all been downhill and sucking off of a few good years in the ’80′s.

      • Alarmjaguar says:

        Agreed, can you imagine what a statement it would have been for her to reimagine aging as powerful rather than desperately clinging to youth? That would have been amazing. This, this is just disappointing (but honestly, not at all surprising)

  11. Loopy says:

    I hope BET will.pull together a decent tribute.

  12. Myrtle says:

    Can’t believe Madonna ended up being such a SAD LOSER. Zero grace. Ego just keeps on growing. I admit I once had hope, especially during her Ray of Light phase, but that all turned out to be just another costume change. Meanwhile, this outfit: What the?!

  13. Tiffany says:

    Thank goodness she didn’t 😋

  14. Michael says:

    Seems Madonna got just what she wanted, a lot of ink.

  15. Deanne says:

    If she didn’t even intend for it to be a tribute to Aretha,I find it even worse. She always meant for it to be a self absorbed, lie filled (she couldn’t have performed Natural Woman if her life depended on it) tribute to herself. She’s always been classless, but the sad fact that her narcissism is growing when she’s literally done nothing notable, other than cultural vulturing, for the last 20 years, make it even more disgraceful.

    • Christin says:

      When I think of her during the last 20 years, I think about the fake accent phase and the messy drama with her ex and son. Now there is this self-absorbed “tribute” in what looks like Boy George circa 1984.

      The organizers had to realize she’s not going to show up in a demure outfit and give the deceased the respect she deserves.

      • Deanne says:

        Oh yeah, the fake accent was tragic. That was her “lady of the manor” phase. Her mega fans always say she’s reinventing hersel,f but to me It’s more like she has no identity other than her narcissism, so she jumps on every trend as it’s happening, pretending to have started it and culturally appropriates because she has no identity other than to court controversy for attention. Not that I was ever a fan or owned any of her music, but her wearing the grill and calling her son the n-word a couple of years ago cancelled her for me completely.

      • brightdarkness says:

        A story came out during the fight over their son that ALL of her kids liked Guy Ritchie. Mostly because he treated them like kids and let them have fun. A day with him in London was going places, maybe stop for lunch in a pub where they could eat the naughty foods everyone else ate.

      • Deanne says:

        @brightdarkness No doubt. Children need to have some autonomy and have unstructured fun. She made them eat macrobiotic food with no exceptions. Not even for holidays or special occasions. Imagine having steamed root vegetables and brown rice for your birthday dinner when you are 10. Getting your kids to eat healthy is always a good idea, but when you are someone like Madonna, who clearly has control issues, it’s less about their well being and more about exherting her will over them.

    • drolf says:

      I found it odd that she claimed to sing “Natural Woman” acapella for auditions as well since she never once revisited that song and her early career never included that type of music. It really strikes me as something she made up. And saying she only had two minutes was an outright lie. I saw the clip and she went on for almost ten minutes. I tried to show my friend the entire thing and now it is nowhere to be found and I wonder if she has a fixer that made it disappear.

    • drolf says:

      Deanne, I would love to hear her sing “Natural Woman” right now. I don’t think she could do it. I saw her in “Evita” and she was so out of her league. I remember Patti Lupone completely dissing her Evita performance. It was pretty funny.

      I have enjoyed some of her songs when she sticks to what she is capable of.

      • Deanne says:

        Her voice is crap. She had actual voice training for Evita and it was still awful. Patti Lupone was dead on about her garbage performance. She can’t act or sing to save her life. It’s like when she tries to play the guitar on stage. A 5 year old could play better. She’s a decent dancer and made some interesting videos and did some original concert tours, years ago. That story about singing Natural Woman rings as a completely self serving lie. When she says long live the Queen at the end, she’s obviously talking about herself.

  16. Boodiba says:

    I didn’t watch any of it but I bet it couldn’t be any worse than Gaga’s “tribute” to Bowie.

  17. PlayItAgain says:

    Whatever, Madge. I just want to know what the f**k are you wearing?? *shudder*
    She looks like a steampunk version of a Zulu princess.

  18. Vintage says:

    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!! ♥️

    She forgot to add, “I love me!” but I guess that’s implied.

    I think her mirror’s have all shattered as her Norma Desmond is showing.

    • Ruyana says:

      Exactly, Norma Desmond in Bizarro Land. She’s really morphed into a pretty scary creature. In hanging onto her youth by her fingernails and refusing to accept her age she’s just one massive FAIL.

  19. Sheri Kay Risaliti says:

    She is starting to look like an older Bette Davis.

  20. Valerie says:

    Whose culture is she appropriating with that outfit?

  21. Catarina says:

    She’s flat out lying. Even the remaining, brain free dregs in charge of MTV would have wanted a real tribute for someone as legendary and iconic as Aretha Franklin, so I highly doubt Madonna was told to just give an “anecdote” about Franklin instead. Then Madonna turns around and blames the *audience* for having a 2 minute attention span and for being “judgmental” about Madonna’s stellar “Aretha” story. Typical narcissist: blame someone else, nothing is ever your own mistake or fault. I’ve always despised Madonna, and have seen her for the VERY, very lucky, untalented, mean spirited, shallow, egotistical and one dimensional “celebrity” she is. All of her money can’t buy her way out of sixty years old, and I’m glad.