MTV’s Video Music Awards returned to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey tonight, honoring some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, along with celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
Hosted by Nicki Minaj in what was her second year in a row serving in that capacity, the 2023 ceremony began with an opening set from the iconic Lil Wayne, who performed “Uproar” and his new single, “Kat Food.” Following Minaj’s VMA introduction, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion rocked the crowd with the hit song “Bongos.”
After mini concerts from Kalii on the Doritos Extended Play Stage during intermissions, Ashanti and French Montana presented SZA with the award for Best R&B song. Ice Spice then brought out the polarizing talent Doja Cat, who walked through the audience while rapping the lyrics to “Attention.” She then transitioned to “Paint the Town Red,” and closed things out with “Demons.”
Colombian singer and songwriter Sharika was the recipient of the 2023 Video Vanguard Award. She ran through many of her classics, including “Whenever, Wherever,” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” which features Wyclef Jean. The Emmy-winning actor Billy Porter gave a phenomenal intro for the evening’s emcee, who came out to “Last Time I Saw You,” a track from her upcoming Pink Friday 2. Minaj also took home the moon person in the category of Best Hip-Hop for the song “Super Freaky Girl.”
During the ceremony’s second hour, the legendary Mary J. Blige walked out to celebrate her colleague and friend Sean “Diddy” Combs, this year’s Global Icon Award winner. Diddy, who is releasing The Love Album next week, performed “I’ll Be Missing You,” before bringing out Yung Miami and Keyshia Cole. His son, King Combs, also assisted with “All About The Benjamins,” and “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.”
Stars such as Chlöe and Halle Bailey, Coco Jones, Saweetie, Shenseea, and Tiffany Haddish all made brief appearances at the show, introducing the night’s many acts. GloRilla was also present at the VMAs; showing love to Metro Boomin as he jammed with Future on “Superhero,” followed by “Calling” with Swae Lee, NAV, and A Boogie Wit da Hoodie.
At around 11:30 pm EST, Ice Spice won the award for Best New Artist. Visibly emotional, the Bronx native gave a stirring acceptance speech, thanking her team, her fans, and God. Right before the evening’s final award, MTV celebrated Hip-Hop 50 with a medley that included Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and LL Cool J. DMC of the group Run DMC wrapped things up with the song “Walk This Way,” the groundbreaking track that merged rap and rock and roll.
See highlights, performances, and full list of winners here.