MTV Video Music Awards were one heck of a wild and fun ride, with Cardi B‘s first public appearance since welcoming her baby, a political statement by rapper Logic and, of course, some of the biggest names in music taking home Moonman trophies, including Post Malone, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello and more.
But it was Jennifer Lopez‘s night, as she earned the Video Vanguard Award for dominating the music industry for more than two decades. Her speech and her performance had the crowd jumping out of their seats and rocking out to her classic jams.
Here are the show’s top moments:
Cardi B returns with a joke, makes a statement about motherhood
She entered the night as the night’s leading nominee but before the show started handing out trophies, Cardi B opened with a little bit of fun and an alleged “surprise” for the hyped crowd. The rapper came out for her first public appearance since welcoming her daughter, rocking a red dress and holding what looked like a bundle of joy.
After teasing, “I got a little surprise for you,” she pulled out a VMA trophy wrapped in a blanket.
Cardi then introduced baby-faced star Shawn Mendes. The camera panned to the crowd, who was fooled at first, then laughed at the gag. Later in the night, Cardi stopped joking and made a statement about being both a mother and an artist and not having to choose between the two.
She said people were telling her she was “risking my career” by having her daughter and now, “I’m still winning awards!”
Hart and Haddish don’t hold back
Night School co-stars Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart came out and definitely did not pull any punches.
“Why are so many celebs getting engaged, is there a sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond I don’t know about?” Haddish said, as the camera panned to lovebirds Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson.
Hart joked at all the singers in the crowd with tattoos on their face, warning them they wouldn’t be able to get a job. “Stop getting tattoos on your face!” he yelled.
Haddish then had trouble pronouncing Camila Cabello’s name, as everyone gasped.
And then Hart got political, joking that with this show you never know what to expect: You could get people running to the bathroom and sending out bad tweets.
“It’s basically like your typical day at the White House,” he joked.
“We are all human beings,” says Logic
It was a simple statement but rapper Logic wowed the crowd when he performed “One Day” with Ryan Tedder, bringing out hundreds of immigrant children of all ages and races affected by the recent border policies in this country.
In fact, MTV tweeted, “All of the people on the stage with @Logic301 were impacted by immigration issues.”
The moment echoed the video itself for “One Day,” which follows the story of a young immigrant teenager forcibly separated at the border from his parents and sibling.
Jennifer Lopez takes home the Video Vanguard Award
Jennifer Lopez was honored with the Video Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement award but also performed for a whopping 15 minutes.
She began with her hit “Waiting for Tonight,” then quickly switched to another club thumper, “On the Floor.” Then it was time for a minor outfit change as she ditched a flowing cape and got back to breaking out some classic J-Lo moves.
The crowd got amped as Jennifer later busted out “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” And of course, Ja Rule came out later to duet on “I’m Real” with J-Lo. It was the stand-up-and-shout moment of the entire night.
Aretha Franklin honored
Late in the night, the show paid tribute to the late “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, who died last week at age 76. Madonna presented the tribute, which began with her declaring, “Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life.”
“I left Detroit when I was 18, $35 dollars in my pocket, dream of being a professional dancer,” Madonna said. After struggling, she went to an audition and they asked her if she had sheet music and a song prepared. She didn’t.
But Madonna thought fast and one of Franklin’s albums came to mind, I blurted out, “‘You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman)’ … I don’t know what I said, I don’t know what came over me,” Madonna said, but she sang.
Weeks later, the people for whom she auditioned called and said Madonna had great potential, and “We want to bring you to Paris and make you a star.”
Madonna returned to the U.S. weeks later to write her own music — and the rest is history.
“She led me to where I am today,” Madonna declared. “I want to thank you Aretha for empowering all of us. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Long live the Queen.”
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