A huge win for Barbs! Nicki Minaj was honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2022 MTV VMAs — and her show-stopping performance proved exactly why she deserves it.
The 39-year-old rapper took a break from her cohosting duties on Sunday, August 28, to take the stage with a medley of her biggest hits, from “Monster” to “Moment 4 Life.” Several dancers joined her for the Barbie-inspired performance, busting moves on the pyramid-shaped stage. Minaj wore a bright pink top and a bright pink wig, and a short pink skirt. The medley wrapped up with “Super Freaky Girl,” the BET Award winner’s latest single which samples the 1981 hit “Super Freak.”
After the performance, fans shared their love for Minaj through video messages. A few Barbs then took to the stage to introduce their favorite artist.
Minaj gave a shout out to all her biggest supporters while accepting her trophy from the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey. “To everyone in here, God bless you and thank you,” she began. “I want to take a second to just say thank you to some of the key people that inspired me and I think inspired my flow. … [And] people who gave me huge opportunities that I’ll never forget: Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Britney Spears, Rihanna.”
Minaj continued to send her love to Drake “for always saying the things I need to hear to get me back in the game, adding, “My whole Young Money family, my Republic family, my babies Wendy, Joe, Josh, the whole building. I wrote this down, I don’t know why, but this was in my spirit to say. I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here.”
She ended by shouting the name of her fandom. “Barbs!” she gushed. “You guys are my babies, but I have a new baby. Papa Bear is his name, and I love him so very much. Mommy loves you so, so, so, so, so much.”
Ahead of the awards show, the “Starships” artist celebrated her major career accomplishment via social media and teased her can’t-miss performance. “I’m receiving the Video Vanguard Award at the 2022 #VMAs!” she captioned an Instagram post at the time. “You DO NOT !!!! I REPEAT !!!! You do NOTTTTTT want to miss my performance.”
Paramount+ execBruce GillmerFans were then given more information about why Minaj was the perfect choice for the prestigious honor. “Nicki has broken barriers for women in hip-hop with her versatility and creative artistry,” he noted in a statement in August. “She has shifted the music industry and cemented her status as a global superstar with her crossover appeal, genre-defying style and continuing to be unapologetically ‘Nicki.’”
The “Anaconda” artist is the first musician to receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award since 2019 when Missy ElliotThe honor was awarded to her. She was the first female rapper to receive the trophy, making history. Previous winners include Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Janet JacksonMore.
Minaj is no stranger on the MTV VMAs stage. She was nominated for her first award in 2010 for Best New Actor. She won her first award the following year, taking home Best Hip-Hop Video for her song “Super Bass.” Four more wins followed over the years from a total of 16 nominations, including Best Female Video for “Starships” in 2012.
The “Queen Radio” host’s history at the awards show has also been filled with plenty of drama. 2015 was a record year. Miley CyrusInterview with Minaj in which Minaj was questioned The New York Times before hosting the VMAs — and the Other WomenStar added fuel to the feud at this ceremony.
“And now, back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press,” Minaj said on stage during the live broadcast. “Miley, what’s good?”
Months later, the “Bang Bang” artist hadn’t let go of the rift. “Perdue chickens can never talk s–t about queens,” Minaj said of the Hannah Montanaalum during a June 2019 edition of her radio show. “She disrespected me in a magazine article for no reason. … Now you coming out with pink wigs, all you bitches wanna be Nicki.”