The Queen of Pop and the Queen of Soul--sounds like a match made in heaven, right? Well....not exactly.
Madonna's planned tribute to Aretha Franklin, who passed away last week after her battle with pancreatic cancer, could not have gone more awry if she tried.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Madonna showed up dressed in traditional African garb and referred to herself as a "skinny-ass white girl" who "is going to come out here and sing a song by one of the soul singers that ever lived." The Grammy winner said that "none of this [gestures to herself] would've happened, could've happened without our lady of soul."
Madonna also accredits an a cappella cover of her singing "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" as responsible for her career taking off.
However, the self-centered and culturally appropriative "tribute" was not well received by...well...anyone.
So all the black artist they could call to talk about the legacy of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and MTV broug… https://t.co/kYMXIMjlHp— Joy Henry (@Joy Henry) 1534823752.0
*Aretha Franklin dies* MTV: “You know what would be really good? If Madonna talked about herself for 10 minutes and mentioned Aretha once”— Hannah (@Hannah) 1534822428.0
this just goes to show. just because you surround yourself with black people doesn’t mean you understand what it me… https://t.co/jc1tbpZgZF— lisa baye. (@lisa baye.) 1534823788.0
#Madonna is demonstrating a dynamic performance of peak white womanhood. This was not an #Aretha tribute but a mono… https://t.co/VrCAUWRWjx— Anansi (@Anansi) 1534822357.0
So instead of an actual tribute to Aretha you let Madonna talk about herself for 30 minutes?! @MTV our beautiful black queen deserves better— Rebekah Genice (@Rebekah Genice) 1534822232.0
This ain't about Aretha at all. #VMAs— Felonious Munk (@Felonious Munk) 1534821940.0
Watch for yourself:
#VMAs: The Queen of Pop @Madonna pays tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin: "I want to thank you, Aretha f… https://t.co/8YgzXyQaP4— Hollywood Reporter (@Hollywood Reporter) 1534822796.0
Madonna later on decided to address what she is now saying was mistakenly called a "tribute."
She said she was asked to present the video of the year award, and 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!" Madonna wrote. "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."
But this 'apology' doesn't even begin to cover the depth of the problems with the entire moment.
@THR Can we talk about the tribal outfit? 😡— ✨Susan✨ (@✨Susan✨) 1534889569.0
@THR https://t.co/bpCB63v7yp— Stephen B (@Stephen B) 1534873474.0
@THR Whether she was asked to give a tribute or present an award, she still rambled on about herself.— Harvey Reed (@Harvey Reed) 1534896009.0
Why does she not address the outfit at all, for one?
@THR #Narcissist #Madonna #MTVAwards https://t.co/GEvunzfn1F— 🍪 LOLITA COOKIE WRIGHT (@🍪 LOLITA COOKIE WRIGHT) 1534872752.0
@THR ...and @Madonna still doesn’t get it.— Kim (@Kim) 1534893960.0
Plus, an "anecdote" connected to Aretha would have been a time the two of you crossed paths in your career...not a story about you and only you.
@THR What. Is. She. Wearing???— Jody Lee Collins (@Jody Lee Collins) 1534897593.0
@THR “And then they asked me to share any anecdotes I had in my career connected to Aretha Franklin!" https://t.co/NmjzXHggbQ— Vanessa (@Vanessa) 1534890178.0
@THR https://t.co/mYO8T3YJnf— Jessica Di Genova (@Jessica Di Genova) 1534901122.0
@THR Sorry Madonna, there are your life’s anecdotes and then there are your life’s ANECDOTES. Your name coming up 4… https://t.co/6TkGlX8Pcu— Whitney Devlin (@Whitney Devlin) 1534898932.0
Madonna, it's time to do better.