On Tuesday night, all of the entertainment industry packed into the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, to attend the annual MTV Video Music Awards, or VMAs. Hosted by Nicki Minaj, the night was filled with major performances, celebrations and most importantly, historic wins.
Here is everything that happened at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards:
There were many key performances of the night, including one by Shakira in honor of her receiving the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, and one by Diddy for MTV’s Video Music Global Icon Award.
The first was a spectacular display of the singer’s musical catalog, singing songs such as “She Wolf,” “Te Felicito,” “TQG,” “Objection (Tango),” “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.” Meanwhile, Diddy performed his greatest hits as well, spanning from tracks like “I’ll Be Missing You” to “I Need A Girl.” Overall, the two kept the over three-hour-long show engaging for audiences, and everyone watching felt a sense of nostalgia for the two icons.
The rapper and host for the night performed her latest single, “Last Time I Saw You,” which was an intimate moment of the show as Minaj actually unleashed her natural singing voice for the first time on live television in a few years. Featuring a sample of The Neighborhood’s “Sweater Weather,” the performance was a catchy and fun sing-along, and the rapper looked comfortable and confident on stage, as per usual.
After staying out of the spotlight since 2021, Doja Cat surprised viewers when she came out to perform songs from her upcoming album “Scarlet:” “Attention,” “Paint The Town Red” and “Demons.” Honestly, this was one of the most memorable performances of the night, and it was exciting to see the singer take over the stage once again with her impressive dance moves and charisma. Her dancers, covered in fake blood, also stole the show, allowing for the spectacle to turn almost cinematic as flying papers circled around them and Doja Cat.
Toward the end of the night, the VMAs paid tribute to 50 years of hip-hop, bringing together icons from the start of the genre to now. Artists such as Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J, Run-DMC, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh and Grand Master Flash all took the stage to sing their greatest hits as well, and it was a great part of the night to see their massive impacts on not just hip-hop, but pop culture.
Artist of the Year, Video of the Year, Song of the Year: “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift
It was no shocker that Taylor Swift would rack up all the awards Tuesday night, including some of the night’s biggest, “Artist of the Year,” “Video of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” Winning for her song “Anti-Hero,” which was the lead track off her 2022 album “Midnights,” the singer proved that her video centered around her insecurities would become a worldwide success. Meanwhile, Swift’s recent “Eras Tour” and directorial accomplishments also most likely landed her these awards, as it is all anyone wants to talk about in 2023.
Best Hip Hop - “Super Freaky Girl” by Nicki Minaj
The queen of rap, aka Nicki Minaj, took home a moonman for “Best Hip Hop” during the VMAs for her widely successful hit, “Super Freaky Girl,” which was released last summer. A song all about embracing your sexuality and femininity, as well as your sexual preferences, Minaj became an overnight sensation yet again last year, making the hit one to watch for this year’s music awards season.
Best New Artist - Ice Spice
One of the most important awards of the night, “Best New Artist,” was given to Ice Spice after her countless contributions to the rap scene this past year. Getting emotional during her speech, the rapper thanked her family, friends and management for boosting her career, and it was a heartfelt scene to watch. With massive hits such as “Bikini Bottom” and “Barbie World (feat. Nicki Minaj),” Ice Spice clearly deserved to win this award, as she’s one of the hottest rappers to watch right now in the music industry.