Madonna presented the Video of the Year award, and prior to bestowing the award to Camila Cabello, she told a lengthy story -- mostly about her own journey as a struggling musician -- as an image of Franklin was projected on the screen behind her. Fans were quick to call out the 60-year-old pop star for talking mostly about herself as opposed to Franklin, who died last week at the age of 76.
However, on Tuesday, Madonna said that she was never asked to do a tribute to Franklin, but rather, just chose to share a personal moment relating to her, which fans misunderstood.
"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 Instagrammed alongside a picture of herself with Cabello. "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."
"Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge," she continued. "I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I Love Camila! I love my dress! AND. I love-L O V E!! ♥️ and there is nothing anyone can say or do that will change that. #vmas #postivevibes."
Madonna's words on Franklin on Monday centered on her as a stuggling entertainer at the beginning of her career, until she sang Franklin's classic hit, "Respect," a cappella during an audition. The audition led to a break in her career, when she moved to Paris and became a singer.
"Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life," she said. "I left Detroit when I was 18. Thirty-five dollars in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer."
"So, you are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story," she later continued. "There is a reason, 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. 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 Madonna faced some backlash after presenting the award, she does have one big fan in Cabello. The singer gushed about the pop icon after taking home the Video of the Year award for "Havana," and even dedicated her win to her.
"My hands are literally shaking," Cabello said. "I'm never going to forget this moment. Madonna, I love you so, so much. I've seen every single music video of yours, I've seen every single documentary of yours, and you've inspired me so, so much."