But as she continued, it became an, uh, interesting story much more about Madonna and much less about Aretha - immediately after which, Madge transitioned awkwardly and presented the Video of the Year nominees and victor. 'You make me feel like a natural woman.' Two French guys nodded at me.
After describing her teen exit from Detroit to make her name in show business, Madonna said at one point, "So, you are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story". "Respect. Long live the queen".
Her lengthy story continued: "I said, 'Bitch, I'm Madonna.' No, I didn't, I didn't say that". Rather, many believe she should have focused way less on herself and more on Aretha's life and achievements. "Not enough", she said.
The Material Girl, who made her VMA debut in 1984 in a memorable and body-writhing performance of "Like of a Virgin" was all set to the present the award for Video of the Year but as she stepped on the stage, an image of Franklin flashed on the screen behind her. "Now, today, I stand here stronger and better than ever". "Madonna has been entitled + gentrifying [black] things for a LONG time", she tweeted.
In addition to the VMAs tribute, celebs have been sharing their memories of Franklin following her death last week, and a source told ET on Thursday that her good friend Clive Davis - with the blessing of her family - is planning a tribute concert on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Some Franklin fans took to Madonna's own Twitter page to protest the tribute.
The Queen of Soul will never be forgotten...
Cabello then collected the biggest award of the night for her Havana video with a bow to Madonna, dedicating the trophy to, you guessed it, Madonna. "Very disappointing", one user wrote.
Someone else also agreed, saying 'I was waiting on the part where she talked about Aretha she mentioned her once in the middle.
"I love you ty for incredible us with your lovely and powerful speech you're fantastic", another fan added. "And I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us".
Nerve sweat? They said, 'We will call you one day.