Madonna has responded to the backlash following her speech about Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards, saying it was not intended to be a tribute.

The pop star was at the receiving end of a barrage of criticism online after she took to the stage to present the Video of the Year Award.

She began her speech by saying Franklin "changed the course of my life", but 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.

Madonna took to Instagram and Twitter to post a picture of herself with Best Video winner Camila Cabello while clearing up the controversy.

"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 explained.

"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."

Madonna added: "Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge. I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T."

Franklin died aged 76 last week at her home in Detroit, Michigan, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.