Aretha Franklin, the late Queen of Soul, will be honored at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.
On Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, just a day after the legendary singer passed away following her battle with advanced pancreatic cancer, the show’s executive producers, Jesse Ignjatovic and Bruce Gillmer, revealed how they plan to pay tribute to her legacy during the event, Entertainment Tonight reports.
As Ignjatovic told the publication, “We’re definitely going to honor her. We’re talking about what that is still … Obviously it’s Aretha Franklin and we want to get it right and honor her in the best and biggest possible way. It affected everyone here, too. I mean, she’s performed on [the Radio City Music Hall] stage many times in her career, in this room. So, it’s important.”
“Aretha, without question, [is] one of the greatest voices in music ever,” Gillmer, who had worked with Franklin in the past, said. He added, “It’s pretty emotional.” After echoing Ignjatovic’s sentiments, Gillmer admitted, “We’re scrambling, but we’re focused on it, without question.”
As Nicki Swift previously reported, Cardi B, who’s gearing up to open the VMAs, leads this year’s nominees with an impressive 10 nods. Meanwhile, Ariana Grande, who honored Franklin with a moving rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, received five nominations and is also set to perform during the ceremony. Other artists expected to hit the stage include Nicki Minaj, Shawn Mendes, Panic! at the Disco, and Jennifer Lopez, who will receive the Vanguard Video Award.
The VMAs’ plans to celebrate Franklin is, of course, no surprise. Ever since the music icon’s untimely passing, countless celebrities have mourned the loss on social media — evidence of the undeniable and unforgettable mark her life and artistry have left on the music industry.
The 35th annual VMAs will air live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Monday, Aug. 20, at 9:00 p.m. EST on MTV.