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Madonna In Concert - Atlanta, GA

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

Monday night, fans sat through the MTV Video Music Awards awaiting a possible tribute to the Queen of Soul. What they got was not at all what they were anticipating.

Instead of a beautiful montage or a medley of songs performed by other soulful singers, MTV enlisted pop icon Madonna to say a few words before presenting the Video of the Year award.

Madonna stood on stage and spoke about her humble beginnings, leaving Detroit, living in crack houses and eventually auditioning for a couple of men from Paris.  She refers 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” and went on to explain that she sang “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. She did not land the audition she wanted, but says that the two men from Paris saw something in her and found other ways to make her a star. She concluded her walk down memory lane by saying that she wouldn’t be where she was today without Aretha.

Following Madonna’s tribute, social media went wild. The pop star was criticized for appearing self-serving, and making the tribute more about her than about the late soul singer. Madonna took to Instagram to defend herself, saying that it would have been impossible to give Aretha a great tribute in 2 minutes and that people are quick to judge.  She wrote,

“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. “