Madonna took to the stage at Monday night's MTV Video Music Awards to pay tribute to the late, great Aretha Franklin, but her eulogy has provoked quite the backlash online as commentators pointed out she concentrated on her own journey to stardom.
Instead of talking about the Queen of Soul, Madonna launched into a story about herself and recalled singing an Aretha Franklin song at an audition that led to her big career break.
She opened her speech by saying Franklin "changed the course of my life", before explaining that she sang her song (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at an audition.
The Like A Virgin star said she ended up impressing two men at the audition by singing the tune a capella, despite them believing "some skinny-ass white girl" would not be able to "belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers that ever lived".
Madonna also recounted details of her early career, saying she was living in Detroit with "$35 in my pocket" and being rejected from auditions for "not being pretty enough".
She also recalled being mistaken for a "prostitute" while walking up her third-storey apartment building that she described as a "crack house".
Eventually, Madonna came around to mentioning Franklin's name again, saying: "You are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story. None of this would have happened without our lady of soul.
"She led me where I am today. I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. Our R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen."
Commentators were quick to accuse Madonna of self-indulgence.
American TV presenter Charlamagne Tha God tweeted: "I'm so lost. I thought Madonna was supposed to be paying homage to Aretha but I all heard was her paying homage to herself."
I’m so lost. 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......— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) August 21, 2018
Writer Marc Snetiker said: "Madonna presents an Aretha Franklin tribute by Madonna featuring Madonna with Madonna and Madonna as 'Madonna'."
Madonna presents an Aretha Franklin tribute by Madonna featuring Madonna with Madonna and Madonna as "Madonna"— Marc (@MarcSnetiker) August 21, 2018
Alicia Garza, an activist and writer who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement, tweeted: "Whoever at the #VMAs let Madonna get on stage and give a tribute to @ArethaFranklin or whatever that was really should be out of a job right about... now.
"I mean there was LEVELS to that. An entire boom could be written about the LEVELS to this. Whiteness has NO SHAME. #VMAs."
TV producer Elgin Charles wrote: "I hate that Madonna manages to make EVERYTHING about herself - even when speaking on behalf of our luminaries. #VMAs."
I hate that Madonna manages to make EVERYTHING about herself - even when speaking on behalf of our luminaries. #VMAs— Elgin Charles (@ElginCharles) August 21, 2018
Comedian and actor Roy Wood Jr teased with a fake quote summarising the speech, tweeting: "'If it wasn't for Aretha, we wouldn't have Madonna'- Madonna."
"If it wasn't for Aretha, we wouldn't have Madonna"- Madonna— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) August 21, 2018
Basketball player Jamal Crawford wrote: "Did Madonna make her Aretha Tribute about Madonna with a sprinkle of Aretha's name in it?"
Did Madonna make her Aretha Tribute about Madonna with a sprinkle of Aretha's name in it??— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) August 21, 2018
Franklin died last week at her home in Detroit, Michigan, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.