It looks like the fans of the late star were not impressed by Madonna's speech honoring her memory at the awards show. Madonna presented the award for Video of the Year to Camila Cabello for "Havana", beating out Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande, Drake and Bruno Mars for the trophy.
She went on to credit Franklin, who died at the age of 76, with kickstarting her career and said without her "none of this would have happened, could have happened".
In her speech, Madonna stated that when she was a young struggling artist, it was her singing Franklin's Respect a cappella in an audition that ultimately jumpstarted her career.
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After joking she retorted "B****, I'm Madonna" - she recalled how she left Paris and came back a few month later realising she had not "earned the luxury life I was living".
"Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge", she continued. "She shouldn't be Aretha adjacent", political and cultural commentator Marc Lamont Hill wrote on Twitter.
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Starting next week, Aretha's family has organized a multiple-day celebration of her life, beginning with an open casket memorial at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. According to the "Like A Prayer" singer, her speech was never meant to be a tribute at all.
"I was asked to present video of the year by MTV!"
Luckily, we were all spared that torture, but it still didn't stop fans (and probably the ghost of Aretha herself) from being all the way pissed off that the Queen of Soul had been dealt such a dumpster fire of a tribute. But critics say Madonna's speech was only about Franklin on the surface.
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The 18-time Grammy Award victor died August 16 at age 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer. "Very disappointing", one user wrote. Nonetheless, they were allegedly blown away by her acappella vocal chops, and that's how Franklin inadvertently "led me to where I am today".