Twitter is freaking out over Madonna’s recent tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, calling her speech ‘a very moving tribute to herself’.
And it seems most people are in agreement with that perspective.
Madonna is giving a very moving tribute to herself
— Julie Fishbach (@heyfishbach) August 21, 2018
At MTV’s Video Music Awards on Monday, Madonna entered the stage dressed in a floor-length, black dress, appropriate for her mourning of the legendary ‘Queen of Soul’.
“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life.” The pop singer began her speech to honour Aretha.
Madonna told her story of how singing Aretha’s "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at an audition changed her life, causing her discovery, and setting her on a course to fame.
The Pop Queen continued her rags to riches tale, saying that “none of this would have happened, could have happened without our lady of soul”.
She led me to where I am today and I know she influenced so many people in this room tonight,” she said. “I want to thank you Aretha for empowering all of us.”
However, contrary to her intended effect, the American singer’s anecdote immediately encountered opposition online from viewers everywhere.
Comedian Roy Wood Jr joked on Twitter: “'If it wasn't for Aretha, we wouldn't have Madonna'- Madonna.”
"If it wasn't for Aretha, we wouldn't have Madonna"- Madonna
— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) August 21, 2018
Author Michael Arceneaux tweeted: “‘You’re probably all wondering why I am telling this story.’ Yes, Madonna”.
“You’re probably all wondering why I am telling this story.” Yes, Madonna. #VMAs
— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) August 21, 2018
The singer also came under attack for her outfit choice: chunky, silver jewellery with pops of red, and a matching headband adorned with spikes.
Commenters said that her ‘African jewellery’ was an attempt to claim black culture.
One user ranted that “this was not an #Aretha tribute but a monologue on how another iconic Black woman is being reduced to how she helped a white woman.”
#Madonna is demonstrating a dynamic performance of peak white womanhood. This was not an #Aretha tribute but a monologue on how another iconic Black woman is being reduced to how she helped a white woman.
— Anansi (@blaqueerflow) August 21, 2018
Others have come to Madonna’s defence, calling her speech ‘moving’ and on point by ‘thanking [Aretha] for empowering all female artists.’
Madonna paying tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Awards, telling us about how she was influential in the start of her career, and thanking her for empowering all female artists.
— Madonna Fan Party (@MadonnaFanParty) August 21, 2018
While Madonna has yet to respond to her recent tribute haters, we expect she will feel forced to clarify her intentions soon.
Meanwhile, other influencers have spoken out in tribute to the legendary soul singer, including Adele, Ariana Grande, and Paul McCartney.
Former American president, Barack Obama said that ‘Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.”
Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. pic.twitter.com/bfASqKlLc5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 16, 2018
It is clear that Aretha has made an impact on musical history, not just in the genre of soul but for women everywhere, demonstrating how a legendary voice and raw, feminine power can change the world.