Madonna: It Was Not Meant to Be an Aretha Tribute

21 August, 2018

This is What's Trending Today...

American singer Madonna is being hotly criticized for her comments about legendary musical artist Aretha Franklin who died last week.

Madonna spoke Monday night at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York City.

The pop star told a lengthy story that began with the words:

"Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life."

It seemed to be the start of a tribute to the woman known as the Queen of Soul. But critics say Madonna's speech was only about Franklin on the surface. Madonna went on to tell about one of her own early singing auditions in Paris in which she sang a song Franklin made famous.

Twitter user Michael Arceneau described the speech this way:

"Madonna's tribute to Aretha Franklin is Madonna telling a story about herself while acknowledging she loved the "Lady Soul" album. #VMAs"

Another tweet from ESPN's Kate Nolan read: "Does Madonna know Madonna didn't die?"

On Tuesday, Madonna tried to explain. In an Instagram post she said she was asked to present the video of the year award and share any stories she had from her career that were connected to Franklin.

She also wrote that she could never do Franklin justice with a tribute amid the noise and tinsel of an awards show.

Madonna at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards -in New York City, August 20, 2018.
Madonna at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards -in New York City, August 20, 2018.

Other social media users also criticized Madonna for what she wore on the VMA stage at Radio City Music Hall. The Northern African style clothing and headpiece was protested as "cultural appropriation."

And that's What's Trending Today.

I'm Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Hai Do was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

legendary - adj. very famous

course - n. the path or direction that something or someone moves along

tribute - n. something that you say, give, or do to show respect or affection for someone

audition - n. a short performance to show the talents of someone (such as an actor or a musician) who is being considered for a role in a play, a position in an orchestra, etc.

tinsel - n. thin strips of shiny metal or paper that are used as decoration

appropriation - n. the act of taking or using something especially in a way that is illegal, unfair, etc.