Aretha Franklin died last week at the age of 76. Tonight at the MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna paid tribute with a long speech about how listening Franklin helped her get through hard times before she made a name for herself.
“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life,” she started off saying. “I left Detroit when I was 18, $35 in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer. After years of struggling and being broke, I decided to go to auditions for musical theater. I heard the pay was better.”
She then recounted the beginning of her career and an audition for French disco producers where she sang “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman.” She talked of the rejection she faced felt that: “Fortunately, one of my favorite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin.”
“None of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul,” she continued. “I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen.” She then presented the Video Of The Year award to Camilla Cabello for “Havana.” Watch below.