The MTV VMAs 2022 Was A Nicki Minaj Takeover

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

Nicki Minaj co-hosted the MTV VMAs 2022, also accepting the coveted Video Vanguard Award and performing a medley of her top hits.

The stars aligned for new Video Vanguard Award recipient Nicki Minaj during the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night (August 28). The “Super Freaky Girl” rapper co-hosted the telecast with LL Cool J and Jack Harlow, also performing a medley of her classic hits including “Super Bass,” “Monster,” “Beez In the Trap,” “Roman’s Revenge” and “Moment 4 Life.”

While taking the stage with four “Barbz,” Minaj thanked her Young Money Records counterparts Lil Wayne and Drake, also crediting her inspirations including Jay-Z and Foxy Brown before shouting out artists who have collaborated with her over the last decade, praising Beyoncé, Madonna, Eminem, Rihanna, Ye and Britney Spears.

Minaj also took a moment to pay homage to pop icons Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, the latter who the Vanguard Award was once named after.

“I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here,” Minaj said. “I wish people understood what they were going through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even for those who seem to have perfect lives.”

To close the acceptance speech, she dedicated the award to fallen rappers Pop Smoke, Juice WRLD, Nipsey Hussle, and deceased loved ones including her cousin Nicholas Telemaque, former business manager Angela “Angie” Kukawski and father Robert Maraj. Ending on an uplifting note, Minaj sent love to her 1-year-old son, lovingly known as “Papa Bear.”

While Minaj received two additional nominations, including Song of the Summer for “Super Freaky Girl,” she took home the Best Hip Hop Moon Person trophy for her “Do We Have a Problem?” collaboration with Lil Baby.

The Video Vanguard Award began in 1984, first given to David Bowie before honoring artists including Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, LL Cool J, Rihanna and more. In 2019, Missy Elliott was the last artist to receive the honor.

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