How the 2018 MTV VMAs Plan to Honor Aretha Franklin

The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards will not go by without honoring the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in its broadcast.

The music legend passed away Thursday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

"In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart," Franklin's family said in a statement Thursday. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds."

The awards show, which will take place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City Monday, is set to be planning quite tribute for Franklin.

"We're definitely going to honor her," Jesse Ignjatovic, co-founder of the production company Den of Thieves and executive producer of the VMAs told Entertainment Tonight. "We're talking about what that is still. We're still working it through. 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," she added.

VMAs executive producer Bruce Gillmer agreed, sharing his own memories of Franklin.

"Aretha, without question, [is] one of the greatest voices in music ever," he said of the late music icon, who appeared several times on VH1's Divas. "VH1 is part of the MTV family. I worked on two shows here in this building with Aretha, very closely with her and her camp. It's pretty emotional."

As for plans to honor her at the VMAs, Gillmer said, "We're definitely talking about it. Trying to figure out how to put something together that feels right and fitting. We're scrambling, but we're focused on it, without question."

While producers scramble to put together a fitting tribute for the singer, the awards show has confirmed performances by Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, Logic and Panic! at the Disco. Jennifer Lopez will be awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and will also perform. Cardi B is set to open the show Monday.

The Backstreet Boys, Bazzi and Bryce Vine will headline the pre-show.


On Thursday's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Grande gave her own tribute to Franklin by performing her beloved 1967 song, "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."

The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards air Monday Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.