Madonna Made the 2018 VMAs Aretha Franklin Memorial All About Herself

Madonna Made the 2018 VMAs Aretha Franklin Memorial All About Herself

Madonna has been self-absorbed for ages now. One of several reasons I have disliked her, going back to the 1980s, was due to this narcissism and arrogance.

I can’t say as though I am surprised Madonna took what was meant to be an opportunity to honor Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin after Franklin’s passing, when Mtv presented a memorial of sorts to Franklin during the 2018 VMAs (video music awards) program, but that is exactly what she did.

In the past, Madonna also fumbled the Prince tribute after Prince’s passing, and when she spoke of Michael Jackson’s passing, she made that all about herself as well.

Shortly after that cringe-worthy Franklin tribute by Madonna, there were a small percentage of black people on Twitter saying that Madonna co-opting Franklin’s memorial to hype herself was an example of white privilege.

I myself am moderately conservative, so I don’t exactly agree with any and all of the liberal identity politics talking points.

Having said that, I wish those individuals attributing Madonna’s self-absorbed Franklin memorial to white privilege would realize it was far less about white privilege than it was Madonna being true to form: she always makes everything about herself.

In other words, even had Aretha Franklin been a blonde- haired, blue- eyed caucasian, Madonna still would have referred to herself and her own career far more than Ms. Franklin’s.

Someone on Twitter alerted me to the fact that Madonna was not truthful during her Franklin memorial.

Madonna claimed that the song she used to audition for some French (or I’m sorry, was he Belgian?) producer when she was just starting her career was a Franklin tune (“Natural Woman”), but interviews with that same guy reveal him saying the tune Madonna chose was “Jingle Bells.” (Links to this information fall much farther below, towards the end of this post.)

(Note: a 2001 Madonna biography by author Andrew Morton (see page 75) claims the song Madonna used to audition at that time was the song “Happy Birthday,” not “Jingle Bells” but not an Aretha Franklin tune, either.)

The story Madonna told on the 2018 VMAs about coming to New York at the start of her career with only $35 in her pocket was debunked by her brother Christopher in his bio about her a few years ago (link to that farther below).

Here are links about the whole awful ordeal:

Madonna Made the Franklin Memorial All About Herself

VMAs 2018: See Madonna’s Bizarre Aretha Franklin Tribute

“Madonna remembered the Queen of Soul in a lengthy, elliptical speech before presenting Video of the Year”

Madonna slammed for self-centered VMAs tribute to Aretha Franklin

August 21, 2018, 2:39 PM

At Monday night’s MTV VMAs, Madonna appeared to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin before presenting the artist of the year award.

The singer stood against a backdrop that featured the late Queen of Soul, and opened her monologue by saying, “Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life,” then talked about her own career.

She defended herself later and said her speech was not meant to be a tribute and that people were “quick to judge.”

Madonna’s Aretha Franklin tribute at the VMAs is all about… Madonna

    August 21, 2018 at 12:21 AM EDT
    With this year’s MTV Video Music Awards falling just four days after the death of Aretha Franklin last Thursday, a tribute to the legendary soul singer was in order for the show.
    Madonna (whose 60th birthday also happened to be last Thursday) was on hand to present the award for Video of the Year at the end of the ceremony, and MTV called on the Queen of Pop to honor the late Queen of Soul during her moment onstage.
    Before awarding the Moon Person statuette to Camila Cabello for the “Havana” music video, the Material Girl told a long-winded story about the early days of her career.

    Struggling to make it as a dancer, she took a musical theater audition with a group of French producers. “Why not?” she thought at the time.
     “The worst that can happen is I can go back to getting robbed, held at gunpoint, and being mistaken for a prostitute in my third-floor walk-up that was also a crack house.”She nailed the dance portion of the audition but panicked when they asked her to produce sheet music and sing. “I had to think fast. My next meal was on the line,” she said.
    “Fortunately, one of my favorite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin.
     I blurted out, ‘You Make Me Feel!’ Silent. ‘You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman!’”
    Long story short, Madonna sang the Aretha classic acapella, and the French producers called her a few weeks later to tell her she hadn’t gotten the job, but they wanted her to go to Paris to become a star, which she did.
    Then she said she left Paris because she felt like she hadn’t earned it yet.
    She concluded the convoluted tale with a promise that, yes, the whole thing really was about Aretha and not just entirely about Madonna.
    “There is a connection!” she said.
     “Because 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 house tonight. I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
    Twitter was not amused by the pop star’s self-serving half-tribute to the late legend.

Twitter roasts Madonna for her #VMAs Aretha Franklin tribute 

    Aug 20, 2018
    Madonna was set to pay tribute to the Queen of Soul at Monday’s VMAs, but the speech seemed to be all about the Queen of Pop — Madonna herself, that is.
    Most of the tribute to Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday, was spent explaining the early origins of Madonna’s career.
     The only mention of Franklin was that Madonna sang “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” to — ultimately unsuccessfully — audition for a song.
     She credited that failure with launching her into a different opportunity that led to the rest of her career.
    She added towards the end of her speech: “I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen.”
    “I’m so lost,” Charlamagne Tha God wrote on Twitter. “I thought Madonna was supposed to be paying homage to Aretha but I all heard was her paying homage to herself. HEAVY on the Mayonnaise…”

Madonna’s Aretha Franklin tribute at the VMAs gets branded ‘disrespectful’– Mashable

Madonna’s MTV VMAs Tribute To Aretha Franklin Angers Fans: She Talked Too Much About Herself

Madonna Makes MTV VMAs Aretha Franklin Tribute All About Herself


08.21.18 12:20 AM ET
Just four days after the Queen of Soul’s passing, the MTV Video Music Awards’ attempt at a tribute fell flat on its face.

It wasn’t going to be easy for the MTV Video Music Awards to top the Aretha Franklin tribute from Ariana Grande and The Roots on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show last week, but after they promised something “big” it seemed like something truly special might be coming. It was not.

Toward the very end of the two and half hour VMAs, Madonna—who turned 60 on the same day Franklin passed—took the stage to, presumably, speak about what the Queen of Soul meant to her. Instead, she spent several minutes telling the audience a rambling anecdote about her early career that seemed barely related to Franklin at all.

With a large photo of Franklin behind her, the fellow Detroit native began by explaining how the singer “changed” her life. She told the story of auditioning for a job to be a backup singer and dancer and performing “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” a cappella, because she couldn’t read sheet music.

“I could see that they did not take me seriously, and why should they?” Madonna said of the music producers running the audition. “Some skinny ass while girl is going to come up here and belt out a song from one of the greatest soul singers who ever lived a capella?”

“I said, ‘b***h, I’m Madonna,’” she told the crowd at Radio City Music Hall to loud cheers. “No, I didn’t,” she added. “I wasn’t Madonna yet. I don’t know who I was.”

Minutes later, Madonna was still talking about how that audition led her to the massive career she eventually had, seeming to forget that she was supposed to be paying tribute to Franklin. Eventually, she brought it back around, but really, it was too late.

“None of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul,” Madonna said, referring to her own career. “She led me to where I am today. And I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight. And I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen.”

With that, she moved on to talk about her first performance at the 1984 VMAs of “Like a Virgin” before presenting the Video of the Year award to Camila Cabello.

Viewers, who had been waiting for a real tribute to Aretha Franklin, were understandably baffled. Summing up the general consensus, Charlamagne tha God tweeted, “I thought Madonna was supposed to be paying homage to Aretha but I all heard was her paying homage to herself.”

Madonna received some similar backlash when she was tasked with paying tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. But at least then she deigned to actually sing his songs.

VMAs: Madonna Tribute to Aretha Franklin Prompts Backlash, Charges of Culture Appropriation

August 20, 2018

Though an attempt to be a touching tribute, the singer was slammed for speaking about herself and dressing in traditional African garb.In the midst of celebrating the best in music, Madonna made a special appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards to not only present the award for video of the year but pay homage to the late Aretha Franklin in a tribute that drew heavy backlash from social media users. 

    The iconic African-American singer, known as the Queen of Soul, died Thursday morning at her home in Detroit following a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
    Speaking in front of a projected image of Franklin onstage, Madonna began chronicling her musical origins, explaining that she consistently got “cut and rejected” after every audition for not fitting the status quo with other musicians.
    The singer then explained that she struggled to find success in the industry for she was “not tall enough, not 12-octave range enough, not pretty enough and not enough enough.” “I had no training or dreams but I went for it,” Madonna said in a dialogue that was heavy on her achievements and light on Franklin’s.
    Madonna, who seemingly had come straight from her 60th birthday festivities in Morocco and Malawi, and was dressed in traditional African garb, then explained that she would go on to audition with a performance of Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” to which she said she knew “every word” by heart.
    Though she was aware that those who she was auditioning for would simply view her 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,” Madonna credited Franklin for being the reason she is as successful as she is today.
    “None of this would’ve happened, could’ve happened without our lady of soul. She led me to where I am today and I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight, and I want to thank you Aretha for empowering all of us, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Long live the queen!”
    Though it was an attempt to be a touching honor, viewers were not pleased with the singer’s tribute to the soul singer. Critics slammed Madonna for making the speech about herself, rather than truly honoring Franklin’s legacy. During this year’s Billboard Music Awards, Madonna was also criticized for “ruining” the tribute dedicated to the late-singer Prince.

Madonna’s VMAs “tribute” to Aretha Franklin was all about Madonna


Madonna gave no respect to the Queen of Soul — and viewers weren’t having it.

In the days since the death of Aretha Franklin, we’ve seen numerous moving tributes to her legacy, including Ariana Grande’s tremendous performance of “Natural Woman.” But Madonna’s attempt to pay her R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the Queen of Soul at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards was not among them.

Instead, Madonna made Franklin’s “tribute” primarily about Madonna, in an awkward, overlong speech that seemed to leave the audience slightly baffled, if not outright offended.

The actual references to Franklin in the meandering, self-aggrandizing speech were almost nonexistent, despite Madonna’s opening proclamation that “Aretha Franklin changed my life.”

What followed, though, was a rambling anecdote about being an aspiring star (complete with an aside about “getting robbed, held at gunpoint, and being mistaken for a prostitute in my third-floor walk-up that was a crack house”) that only came back around to Franklin as Madonna described (in a weird Russian accent) an early audition in which she wowed a couple of French auditors by singing “Natural Woman.” You can get a feel for the rambling nature of her speech below…

Madonna called out for paying tribute to Aretha Franklin with story about herself– CNN

By Sandra Gonzalez, CNN

Updated 12:32 AM ET, Tue August 21, 2018

(CNN)Madonna’s attempt to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin on MTV’s Video Music Awards has some viewers calling out the singer for d-i-s-r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Madonna appeared at the VMAs on Monday to present the award for video of the year and honor Franklin, who died last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Her so-called tribute, however, left viewers scratching their heads, with some saying her speech was as much an appreciation of herself as it was to the Queen of Soul.

‘Long live the queen’
Madonna opened her statement by saying Franklin “changed the course of my life,” but from there, it evolved into a story about Madonna’s journey into the music business.

The singer shared her experience at an audition where she sang Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in a last-minute decision after she had failed to bring sheet music or prepare another song.

Madonna said she ended up singing the tune, which she knew “by heart,” acapella. Though, she said, the two men who she was auditioning for didn’t believe “some skinny-ass white girl” was going to “belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers that ever lived.”

According to Madonna, she impressed the men, but the gig ended up leading to a dead-end opportunity. While her big break would come later, she said Franklin “led me to where I am today.”

“I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” she said. “Long live the queen.”
The reaction

Viewers reacted swiftly on social media to Madonna’s story and her attempt to honor Franklin.
Some people complained that Madonna’s remarks were too focused on her own triumph rather than Franklin’s legacy.
“So instead of an actual tribute to Aretha you let Madonna talk about herself for 30 minutes?! @MTV our beautiful black queen deserves better,” wrote one user.

Madonna pays tribute to Aretha Franklin at the #VMAs but fans are furious

August 2018

MAD RANT – Madonna is mercilessly mocked by viewers after rambling ‘tribute’ to Aretha Franklin at MTV VMAs

The 60-year-old took to the stage in New York to present the Video of the Year award to Camila Cabello

However before she got down to business, Madonna spoke about the Queen of Soul,who died last week at the age of 76 after a battle with cancer.

Starting off by saying she had been inspired by Aretha, Madonna – who was dressed in full Berber attire – seemed to descend into a speech about her own career and how it had all began.

Her long-winded story touched on her musical theatre auditions when she wanted to be a dancer, and added: “The worst that can happen is I can go back to getting robbed, held at gunpoint, and being mistaken for a prostitute in my third-floor walk-up that was also a crack house.”

She then went on to explain how she had to sing a song and chose Aretha’s (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman a capella.

However she was told she hadn’t got the part but she managed to become a star anyway.
Her convoluted tale ended with her saying: “There is a connection! Because 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 house tonight. I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
While she got there eventually, viewers were baffled by the rambling speech and took to Twitter to mock the Material Girl.

One wrote: “Does Madonna not realize that a tribute means you talk about the person’s life & career and not about your own journey that no one wants to hear about? Shut. the. hell. up #VMAs”.

Another wrote alongside a gif of Jennifer Lawrence saying ‘Nobody should ever talk about themselves that much’: “How I felt when Madonna was supposed to do a Tribute to Aretha Franklin but turned the Tribute on to herself. BET I’m gonna need you to come through and show what a Tribute is. So damn messy #VMAs.”

Another shared: “AWWWW HELL NO!!! @Madonna shld b ashamed & embarassed 4 whatever the f*ck tht was supposed 2 b. U know tht moment when u realize u can no longer tolerate someone, & they r relegated 2 a dark & dusty corner in the back of ur mind? Thats where #Madonna lives now. #QueenAretha #VMAs.”

Regarding what Madonna later claimed was her intentions, it does not really matter if what she did was technically a tribute or not – she ended up acting in the role of someone paying (no pun intended) respect to Aretha Franklin.

Shortly before Madonna took the stage to offer us all her very self-absorbed tale of her early career, Mtv had just aired a brief clip of Aretha Franklin singing, and there was a very large black and white portrait of Franklin hanging behind Madonna as she spoke. So it sure as hell read as a tribute.

Madonna responds to VMAs uproar: ‘ I did not intend to do a tribute’ to Aretha Franklin

    Twitter was not having Madonna’s tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards Monday.Before presenting the award for video of the year, the singer shared a story about how Franklin “changed the course” of her life – and social media users dragged her for how much it focused on herself as opposed to the Queen of Soul.
    After talking  about her early career struggles, Madonna revealed she sang Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at a breakthrough audition.”None of this would have happened without our lady of soul,” she said.
    “She led me where I am today… I want to thank you Aretha for empowering all of us… Long  live the queen.”Madonna gave more details about her speech on Tuesday in an Instagram post.
    “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,” she wrote.”I shared a part of my journey and thanked Aretha for inspiring me along the way,” Madonna continued.
     “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,” she wrote. “I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”
    Many criticized Madonna for what was described as  a tone-deaf tribute, some saying she was trying to steal back the spotlight after Franklin died Aug. 16, the same day as the pop icon’s 60th birthday.Here are the best reactions:

Madonna says speech at VMAs was not intended to be Aretha Franklin tribute

    Aug 21, 2018
    (CNN) Madonna says she meant no d-i-s-r-e-s-p-e-c-t when she shared a story about her connection to the late Aretha Franklin during the MTV’s Video Music Awards on Monday night.Madonna said she was asked to present the award for video of the year at the VMAs and told to “share any anecdotes I had in my career connected to Aretha Franklin.”

Madonna’s Self-Centered Aretha Franklin Tribute Wasn’t Supposed To Be A Tribute

D-Listed Site – Re: Madonna on 2018 VMAs

Regarding this next link: I do not agree that this fiasco was 100% Mtv’s fault. Madonna is an adult. She could’ve refused to do the “tribute” or still spoke more of Franklin than she did of herself.

Madonna’s VMAs Speech Was Tone-Deaf, But the Real Mistake Was MTV’s

8/21/2018 by Andrew Unterberger

…But did they need an artist to pay her tribute at all?

Obviously, Aretha Franklin was a titan of popular music, but her peak came mostly in the pre-MTV ’60s and ’70s.

A mid-’80s reinvention did make her an MTV fixture for a couple of years, and she’s been nominated for two VMAs in her career, but few would consider her a crucial artist in the channel’s history, and she’s never performed or had a particularly memorable moment at the awards before.

Considering some of the legendary MTV-era artists who have died in the past few years — including Prince, George Michael and Chris Cornell, none of whom got so much as a passing mention at the awards following their deaths — it’s strange that the channel would make such a point of paying extended tribute to an artist whose greatness is rarely associated with her music videos.

Not to mention that if paying tribute to the fallen greats was now a priority of MTV’s, there were plenty of other choices from the past year that would’ve made as much if not more sense.

Perhaps the problematic nature of XXXTentacion’s career would’ve made him an awkward choice of tribute for an award show that aspires to wokeness as the VMAs do, but what about Avicii, the late ’10s EDM star who’d been nominated for a handful of VMAs in his life — and by the way, actually won one last night?

His posthumous best dance win would’ve been the perfect opportunity for a short, genuine tribute (perhaps from Rita Ora, collaborator on his winning “Lonely Together”), but the category was inexplicably presented off-air, and it would’ve gone totally unmentioned on the main show if collaborator Ora hadn’t said something while presenting Maluma’s performance.

And what about Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty, who died last October and was not only one of the biggest fixtures of MTV’s first decade and a half, but also involved in one of the VMAs’ all-time greatest performances? To the surprise of no one, his name wasn’t uttered a single time last night.

It’s not hard to see the reason why Franklin got a tribute while none of these other artists did: timeliness. Because Franklin died in the week leading up to the VMAs, the producers obviously felt more of an urgent need to pay respects to her than to other stars who passed in the 12 months since the previous ceremonies, even if one or two of them might’ve made for more natural fits.

But while no one could deny that Aretha Franklin’s greatness should be honored whenever possible, would anyone have been particularly upset had the VMAs simply played a short video — like the performance clip of “I Say a Little Prayer” that preceded Madonna’s speech — and eschewed any potential artist speech and/or performance altogether?

Considering that the response to the news announcement that the show would tribute Franklin was one of extreme trepidation, it’s hard to imagine many would have objected.

…Ultimately, nobody comes away from last night’s Aretha Franklin tribute a winner: Not MTV, certainly not Madonna, and not even Franklin, who may have been totally unfamiliar to a large percentage of the young viewers watching — and now will be known as “that woman who Madonna sang a song by once” to many of them.

It’s frustrating for many reasons, mostly because it didn’t have to go down like this, or at all. If MTV and the VMAs want to start delving back into the past after years of focusing almost exclusively on the present and future, that’s fine — they certainly have the history to make it worth the nostalgia.

But hopefully next time, they don’t try to both over-extend and under-think a tribute based solely on who’s died the most recently, and who’s already around that could possibly pay homage. That’s how you end up not paying proper respect to anyone.

Regardless, MTV did ask Madonna to croak a few words, and she did so. She could’ve chosen to handle the “tribute” differently than she did, and that is still on her.

MTV Executive Amy Doyle on Madonna’s Aretha Tribute, Wooing Young Fans and the ‘Drag Race’ Phenomenon


Madonna received some backlash for her tribute to Aretha Franklin at the VMAs. Why did you choose her?

We felt the Detroit connection was ­important, a city known for its ­musical roots and a place near and dear to Aretha’s heart.

Madonna’s egocentric Aretha Franklin tribute earns backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation

‘Does Madonna know Madonna didn’t die?’ ESPN’s Katie Nolan tweeted


By Helen Razer
August 22, 2018

In 2006, Madonna Ciccone was keen to address the problem of nuclear waste with the use of blessed water.

With then-spouse Guy Ritchie, she approached the UK Department of Trade and Industry with a treatment one civil servant forced to endure the couple’s presentation described to The Sunday Times as “bollocks”.

Madonna had acquired a British accent at about this time and I remember worrying briefly that she had received a recent blow to the head.

Then I remembered worrying re the same when her Sex book was released in the ‘90s.

A person who seeks to bring naked pictures of Vanilla Ice to mass market is a person clearly lost for life to reason.

That she should never have been permitted to speak about the recently deceased Franklin ought to have been abundantly clear to producers of the MTV VMA awards. I am hardly alone in this view.

Commentators are right to decry a decision that should never have been made.

It is not only inappropriate but antagonistic to assign the task of eulogising the Queen of Soul to the high priestess of artifice.

And, FFS. Franklin was widely known to understand and support true movements for social change. She posted bail for Angela Davis. Madonna wanted to fling something called “kabbalah fluid” around.

So, yes. Everyone is quite right. There is little to unite these two artists beyond their attachment to the city of Detroit and someone could have drawn up a list that started with the Knowles girls. If Beyoncé and Solange were busy, try Janelle Monáe, MIA, or, possibly, Adele.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone would have minded hearing what Mariah had to offer. Even Mariah on a difficult evening.

Even Mariah accompanied by a Mariah soundtrack, as is the diva’s wont, would have been less hostile to the memory of the Queen of Shade than some bint whose noblest achievement is, apparently, the fight against sexist ageism, or whatever.

F*ck off.

A 60-year-old female body routinely tortured by the boredom of Pilates classes is mildly interesting, but is no kind of inspiration to any lass outside the leisure class.

Madonna’s pre-Instagram affinity for looks—a wig-changing habit idiots prefer to know as “reinvention”—is remarkable, but is not a gift comparable to that given to the world by Franklin.

The most wretched moment of Madonna’s speech came in her account of singing Natural Woman.

The collective Western unconscious simply could not stop itself from imagining Madonna’s single octave massacre of Carol King’s genius and contrasting it with any Aretha performance, perhaps that at the Kennedy Center in 2015. I mean to say.

Even with the sound turned down, these five minutes on YouTube are sufficient to eclipse old Kabbalah Water’s decades-long career.

King looks at Franklin with genuine awe that her genuinely awe-inspiring work could be reified by any human voice. Franklin drops her furs and in this moment, squishy white confused body-positive feminism ought to have received an object lesson in striptease.

F-ck this boop-boop-be-doop burlesque of the Madonna type. This is how a woman powerfully takes off her clothes.

The entire thing is just awful and, of course, compelling.

To watch Madonna believe herself equal to the task of remembering Franklin is to observe a collision.

But, it’s also, for mine, to watch another kind of accident: that which is found to occur in an era that so deliriously honours the Moving Personal Story.

Madonna has defended her tribute on categorical grounds, saying that it wasn’t a tribute but a personal story etc.  It is probable that Madonna was asked to give her Intimate Memory and it is probable that any artist, no matter how appropriate, would have been charged with the same duty. Because, that’s what we do these days. We talk about things, no matter how big, with recourse to personal accounts.

Franklin’s talent was arguably too immense to be remembered in the context of one modest life; she was a once-in-a-lifetime type deal.

Perhaps it was with this knowledge that Janelle, Solange etc rebuffed the invitation, leaving history’s mediocre material girl to the work. Nonetheless, it is with this knowledge that so many things are “explained”.

Personal accounts of public matters, including the wonder of Franklin, are of limited utility. This is true with the MeToo movement.

This is true when celebrities take a temporary turn at poverty. It is true when politicians pretend to speak “from the factory floor” and, heck, it does not matter how much you sobbed when you watched Hannah Gadsby “reinvent” comedy on Netflix, it is also true then that a personal account, no matter heartfelt, of a big political thing is too small to accommodate much more than private pleasure.

Madonna is a twit, certainly, and was an exceptionally bad choice, or even last resort. But, even if she were not the type to view the world as her mirror, we have become accustomed to this gaze.

It is time for a moratorium on personal stories. It is, surely, time for us to disdain intimacy as a political weapon and quit hungering for “nuance” when we’re attempting to explain big things.

Racism, homophobia, even “sexist ageism”— I’m really not sure that’s a thing and I hope intersectional scholars reject it out of hand— cannot be meaningfully countered through personal description.

These things are governed by totalising forces expressed not just in personal exchange and felt not just by the individual but present in the wider world.

We do not understand Franklin through Madonna, and we could not hope to understand her force, perhaps even through expression by Beyoncé— even though this would have been way more tolerable. We do not understand big things through single lives and, FFS, it’s surely time we set aside believing that we can.

Hey Madonna – here’s how to keep a tribute from being all about you
by Nicole Lyn Pesce

Excerpts from that page:

It happens: You’re supposed to sing someone’s praises — and you go on about yourself, instead.

Take Madonna’s botched tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards, which has been dubbed the ultimate show of D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

She began with, “Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life,” but then spent most of her speech reflecting on her own struggles, including being robbed and mistaken for a prostitute.

Madonna responded to the backlash by claiming MTV had only asked her to share career anecdotes that she had connected to Franklin before presenting Video of the Year. “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,” she wrote in a statement posted on Instagram.

But Her Madgesty’s tribute to the late King of Pop was just as questionable as her words to the Queen of Soul. She began her speech honoring Michael Jackson at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards by comparing him to herself:
“OK, here we go again. Michael Jackson was born in August 1958. So was I. Michael Jackson grew up in the suburbs of the Midwest. So did I. Michael Jackson had eight brothers and sisters. So do I.”

(video on their web page of Madonna talking about Michael Jackson’s passing)

President Trump’s remarks to the White House press pool last week on Franklin passing at age 76 also ticked off many fans, as his condolences were undermined by him adding, “She worked for me on numerous occasions.”

But this is actually quite common. “People are tasked with singing someone’s praises, yet they insert themselves into the narrative,” etiquette expert Elaine Swann told Moneyish.
“We see it with politicians. We see it at weddings, when someone is giving a toast to the bride and groom. And we see it even in the workplace, when sometimes an individual just cannot keep themselves from taking credit or telling their own story.”

This is partly because we are living in a narcissistic society.

A 2010 study found that 30% of students displayed narcissistic personality traits — like grandiosity and entitlement, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration, according to Psychology Today — which has increased by more than half since the early 1980s.

In fact, psychologist Jean Twenge noted in her 2009 book “The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement” that the rise in narcissism has been just as big as the rise in obesity in adults.

“Not only are there more narcissists than ever, but non-narcissistic people are seduced by the increasing emphasis on material wealth, physical appearance, celebrity worship, and attention seeking,” Twenge wrote.

Preston Ni, author of “How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People,” told Moneyish that social media is largely to blame. “So many people use social media as a self-advertisement — and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. But if that’s all you do, then your life becomes one of, ‘What about me?’ and ‘This is what I’m doing’ and ‘This is what I’m eating for lunch,’ and it’s overly self-absorbing,” he told Moneyish.

And so now when you’re tasked with talking about someone else’s achievements, it can be easy play up your own. So etiquette experts and psychologists shared their tips to staying on track the next time you give a toast or tribute.

What point do you want to make?
“Just take a beat, and think back to a time when you were really inspired by this person, which is what you want to bring to a tribute,” said psychologist Karlyn Borysenko, the author of “Zen Your Work.”

“The audience is looking to have that same experience that you had with that person.”

And if your tribute subject is still alive, Ni suggests asking him or her directly about some accomplishments that they might like for you to highlight in your remarks, such as their charity work.

Count how many times you say ‘I’ or ‘me.’
“If you are preparing a statement or a speech, or even thinking about it in your head, and you’re seeing or hearing the words ‘I’ and ‘me,’ or ‘my’ and ‘I did this’ everywhere, then it’s too much about you,” said Swann. “Modify it. It’s that simple.”

Aretha Franklin’s Family Was Not Upset About Madonna’s Widely Criticized VMA Tribu

Aretha Franklin to Prince: Madonna’s History of Questionable Tributes

By Desiree Murphy‍ 9:45 AM PDT, August 21, 2018

Madonna, the queen of questionable tributes?

When the singer took the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards Monday night, social media erupted with fans slamming her for her bizarre tribute to the legendary Aretha Franklin, who died last week at the age of 76 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Madonna seemed to only talk about herself in the speech, telling a long, drawn-out story about her early days as a struggling artist.

It was only at the end that she (kinda) shifted the focus to Franklin, telling the crowd, “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,” Madonna continued. “I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen.”

[Madonna later issued a statement after all the criticism saying her Aretha Franklin commentary was not meant to be a “tribute”]

That got us thinking, and we remembered that this isn’t actually the first time the 60-year-old singer gave a puzzling tribute to an artist at an awards show. At the Billboard Music Awards in 2016, many viewers were not impressed by her and Stevie Wonder’s tribute to Prince, who died in April of that year.

Even BET network slammed the singer via Twitter at the time, sharing a since-deleted clip of the Purple One’s iconic symbol, accompanied with a message that read, “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. We got you.”

Madonna didn’t take the insult lightly, however, later writing,
“Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age gender or skin color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever.”

And the beginning of Madonna’s tribute to the late Michael Jackson at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards seemed all too similar to the speech she gave in honor of Franklin on Monday.

“OK, here we go again. Michael Jackson was born in August 1958. So was I,” she said. “Michael Jackson grew up in the suburbs of the Midwest. So did I. Michael Jackson had eight brothers and sisters. So do I.”

Was Madonna’s 2018 VMAs Tribute To Aretha Franklin A Misstep? by Adrienne Gibbs
Aug 21, 2018

The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards attempt to honor the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin fell flat into a pan of weird, self-centered Madonna-ness. The music giant was pegged to give a short speech honoring Franklin, and she did…kinda.

Then? Things went left.

It started out okay, by returning from a commercial break near the end of the show, with a clip of Franklin’s 1970 performance of “Say a Little Prayer.”

Then Madonna started her monologue and ultimately said that Franklin inspired her to audition in France and that audition changed her life. The speech meandered and wandered to and fro. Madonna mentioned musical theater and being poor in Detroit and other things. But she didn’t really say anything substantive about the 76-year-old soul singer who changed music forever with her instrument and made worldwide news when she passed away on August 16, 2018.

Eventually, Madonna got around to the point, I think.

“None of this could have happened without our lady of soul,” Madonna said, finally, just before introducing Camila Cabello as the winner of the Video of the Year. “I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” Madonna also said all this while wearing a culturally confusing outfit presumably inspired or acquired from travels across the world.

What’s odd about the speech is that, despite the huge black and white image of Franklin just behind her, the gist of it was more about Madonna than about the Queen of Soul. And while any form of thanks is wonderful, one has to wonder if the VMAs just slid this verbal one in and thought it would suffice. Clearly, it didn’t. Many people on social media reacted negatively to Madonna’s words and (like me) wondered what it had to do with the Video of the Year to boot.

Ernest Owens perhaps said it best.

“Only Madonna would turn a tribute about Aretha Franklin and make it about herself… #VMAs”

Let’s hope – and say a little prayer – that the Emmys, Oscars, Grammys and, heck, even the iHeart Radio awards do better.

Until then, at least we can count on the NAACP Image Awards to have something palatable on deck. Right?

Madonna Blames People’s Short Attention Spans for Not Understanding Her VMAs Aretha Franklin Tribute

Progressively Speaking: Did Madonna’s tribute to Aretha show enough ‘respect’?

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner takes a topical issue and applies a Reform Jewish response

Madonna Has Always Made Things About Her

Excerpts:BY: ARKEE E.
31 AUG 2018

….During the VMAs, my timeline exploded with angry tweets about the pop star. While some of my followers reposted Madonna’s picture, accusing her of appropriating Amazigh culture, many of my followers expressed annoyance at her so-called Aretha Franklin tribute. In a less than a two-minute tribute, Madonna mentioned herself over 70 times and the late Aretha Franklin only four.

This is typical of Madonna, and imagining otherwise means you live under a rock or have not paid attention to her incessant antics. Here is a comprehensive list of five times Madonna made something, which had nothing to do with her, about herself:

Madonna’s message to LGBTQ people during pride month

(On his page he has embedded an IG post by Madonna – she made her “Gay Pride” post all about herself, basically. You can view that IG post by Madonna here)

—(start Madonna quote)—-
Madonna’s IG Post reads:
Until I can Share MY music……. I’m sending Love from Lisbon! missing NY and the fierceness of the LGBT community that gave me life from the moment I landed there!! For Me, Pride Month is every month! This  Bows down to every Gay Boy that taught me a. New dance, how to dress, how to drag, how to slay, To stand tall in the face of adversity, to not give up hope, to own my inner b***h and to love my flaws! #loveislove #gratitude #pride ‍ 🏳‍
—(end Madonna quote)—-

This past Pride month, Madonna wrote a brief statement. She showed solidarity to the LGBTQ community by — SHOCKINGLY — talking about herself, her upcoming music, her experience navigating New York City, and how she bows down to all the gay men who helped her with self-love and with her career.

….Madonna Makes Racism and Homophobia about Her

During an interview with Rolling Stone, Madonna compared her experience with ageism to racism and homophobia, though she has never experienced racism or homophobia.
“No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black or dare to say a degrading remark on Instagram about someone being gay. But my age — anybody and everybody would say something degrading to me. And I always think to myself, why is that accepted? What’s the difference between that and racism, or any discrimination? They’re judging me by my age. I don’t understand. I’m trying to get my head around it,” she said.

Madonna Did Not Go to New York With Only $35 In Her Pocket As She Often Claims, Says Her Brother – details here:

My bizarre life with Madonna and Guy – by her BROTHER


July 2008

Few know Madonna better than her 47-year-old brother Christopher Ciccone. They grew up together in Michigan in America and learned to dance together.

… I knew Guy was a British film director and that he was younger than her. Like her first husband Sean Penn, Guy comes from a solidly middle-class family and yet both are prone to present themselves as tough street kids. My sister, I believe, has always played the identical game.

After all, she is a middle-class girl who propagates the story that she landed in Times Square with just a pair of ballet shoes and $35 to her name. But that’s pure mythology and the further she progresses, the more mythological her life story becomes.

Far from being this lost and friendless little waif who didn’t even have a crust of dry bread to eat, when Madonna went to New York she had money in her pocket, plenty of contacts and a support system all in place. I often wonder whether her taste for self-invention explains her attraction to both Sean and Guy.

Madonna did not sing an Aretha Franklin song at her audition, she sang “Jingle Bells”

(or she sang “Happy Birthday,” according to this source, page 75)

That page in English, via Google Translate:
Patrick Hernandez restores the truth: no, Madonna has never been a dancer for him

June 2015

Legend has it that Madonna began her career as a dancer-chorister on the planet tube Born to be alive. Patrick Hernandez, the performer of the hit, has just broken the myth.

On the occasion of his participation in the huge Stars 80 concert at the Stade de France on May 9th, the singer Patrick Hernandez was present at the invitation of the TV channel Melody . At the very beginning of the interview, the reporter of the vintage channel immediately wanted to clarify a rumor that the performer of the planet tube Born to be alive would have set foot in the stirrup Madonna , making her dance and participate in the chorus of the hit.

“It’s been years since I tried to restore the truth, Patrick Hernandez amused himself.

There are messages that are difficult to pass. People definitely want to see her dancing on Born to be alive! No, Madonna has neither danced nor sung on this song which brings – still today – between 800 and 1500 € per day to the singer .

“It was in 1980. She did, in fact, in New York, at an audition of singers and dancers, remembered the artist. Over two days of audition, we saw nearly a hundred people including Madonna. She gave us her little presentation – which was dazzling – and when she was asked to sing, she said, “I do not know how to sing, it’s not my thing.”

Forced by her two casters, the Ciccone ended up singing a version of Jingle Bells that Patrick Hernandez described as “humorous” .

“We find her so spontaneous, so brilliant for her 19 years, that she was told ” We take you with us, you’re not going to dance behind Patrick, it’s a bit silly. We have everything we need, we have 35 dancers, the singer reminded us. So we will take you with us and we will make you record a record .”

Without jumping for joy, Madonna performed and landed in Paris with Patrick Hernandez and producer Jean Van Loo but everything did not go as planned: “It was not easy for him to record a record because that time, this young woman wanted to do theater, cinema or dance but not sing. After a year of vegetating in our capital, Madonna finally returned to the United States, leaving behind a resigned Patrick Hernandez. Three years later, she will sell 21 million copies of Like a Virgin in the world …

Videos on You Tube:

Madonna Gives Bizarre Self-Indulgent Tribute To Aretha Franklin At VMAs via Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM

Fans REACT to Madonna’s BIZARRE Aretha Franklin Tribute at 2018 MTV VMAs

Celebs React To Madonna’s Tribute To Aretha Franklin 2018 VMA’s

No One Loves Madonna More Than Madonna — According to Her Aretha Franklin Tribute | Billboard News

Aretha Franklin (via You Tube) singing “Respect”

Respect sung by Aretha Franklin