The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards aired live from inside New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on Monday night, and it gave us a glimpse into pop culture from the viewpoint of mainstream America.
And what did we find out? The show is still pretty much white.
But there were a few moments of melanin power as some of our faves created some of the blackest moments of the evening.
Here are eight of them:
Cardi B’s “For The Kulture” Prank
The “I Like It” rapper had the audience on the edge of their seats when she opened the show by walking out with a bundle of joy. Many of us assumed that she was carrying her newborn daughter, Kulture, in the blanket.
But the joke was on us as the bundle of joy turned out to be an MTV VMA Moonman statue!
It even appears that her husband Offset thought she was playing games!
Travis Scott Remembers Aretha Franklin
It was hours into the awards show before iconic singer Aretha Franklin, who only died last week, was finally mentioned. And it was from an unlikely source: Travis Scott.
The “Astroworld” rapper dedicated his performance to Franklin. “Rest in peace the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin,” he shouted to the crowd.
Black Twitter’s Response To Madonna’s Aretha Franklin Tribute
MTV felt that it was the right move to give Madonna the honor of doing the Aretha Franklin tribute at this year’s VMAs.
But somehow, Madonna made a tribute towards one of the most important artists of our era, about her. The pop singer said that when she started off in the music industry, she sang as an audition song, Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
“None of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul,” Madonna said of her music career. “She led me to where I am today.”
And Black Twitter was not having it! Many took to Twitter to express their displeasure with her tribute.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 21, 2018
Aretha watching Madonna’s tribute to her from heaven …. pic.twitter.com/fuMkCCf1AT
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 21, 2018
the levels of Aretha Franklin disrespect has reached higher than Madonna's range #vmas
— Ziwe (@ziwe) August 21, 2018
Ja Rule Steals The Show
“What’s my mother f******* name!”
As the Video Vanguard Award honoree this year this year, Jennifer Lopez served us a medley of some of her greatest hits. But nothing got the crowd —and us —going like when Ja Rule stepped onstage to perform the duo’s hits “I’m Real” and “Ain’t it Funny.”
He did not disappoint.
Nicki Minaj Brings The Focus Back To Her Music
After a controversial album launch — one where her beefs and comments were grabbing headlines — the Barbz were out in full force in the audience to support their “Queen” as she performed selections from her new album.
It was definitely one of the better performances of the evening even if it wasn’t inside Radio City. Instead, Nicki Minaj took her performance to New York City’s The Oculus, located miles away.
Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart Bring The Comedy
The two comedians took the stage and cracked jokes on everyone from the cast of Jersey Shore down to President Donald Trump, bringing some much needed humor to the evening
“You never know what’s going to happen at the VMAs — I mean, beefs pop off, bad language, people run to the bathroom and send out crazy tweets — it’s basically like a typical day at the White House,” Hart joked at one point. “In your face Trump, suck it!”
The jokes marked a monumental departure for Hart, who’s long said he’d never step into politics while onstage.
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) August 21, 2018
Haddish also threw out a Fifth Harmony diss during her comedic routine when she was praising Camilla Cabello, a former member of the girl group.
“So those of you watching at home — hi Fifth Harmony,” she joked.
The shade did not sit well with some people. Nicki Minaj was not here for any Fifth Harmony sander, specifically if it is aimed at her friend, Normani Kordei. The “Queen” rapper came to the defense of the band and singer while accepting the Best Hip-Hop Video award minutes after Haddish’s diss.
“Don’t be coming for Fifth Harmony because Normani is that b*****,” she said.
Amandla Stenberg Is Out And Proud
Amandla Stenberg showed up at the VMAs with her girlfriend, singer King Princess, just over two months after the 19-year-old came out as a lesbian.
The Hate U Give actress and her girlfriend were seen holding hands, and sat next to each other at the show.