Host Keke Palmer opened this year’s VMAs on a somber note, acknowledging the recent passing of Black Panther, 42 and Get on Up star Chadwick Boseman.
The actor died of colon cancer on Friday. He was 43.
“Before we get to the music tonight, we need take the time to talk about the devastating loss of Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose talent and passion was a true inspiration to all the fans he touched and everyone he encountered. We dedicated tonight’s show to a man whose spirit touched so many,” said Palmer.
“He’s a true hero, not just on screen, but in everything he did. His impact lives forever,” she continued.
After confirming that the updo is back, Palmer also led a moment of appreciation for the health care workers guiding the nation through the COVID-19 during the ceremony, inspired by the practice of New Yorkers clapping on their roofs and screaming from their windows to celebrate their heroic efforts.
Later the singer, actress and producer pulled double duty when she hit the stage to perform her latest single, “Snack.” The socially distanced performance featured day glow outfits and a small group of spectators sitting in their cars singing along.
Palmer made a slick change to her saucy lyrics during the show. “Walked in the VMAs looking like a snack / When I’m done hosting it you could have it back,” she chanted into the camera while dancing.
Chloe x Halle
During the preshow (and honestly they should’ve been on the main stage), Chloe x Halle pulled off a sexy chrome-plated performance in which the singers invited viewers to love them at the “Ungodly Hour,” the name of the lead single from their latest album of the same name. They may have lost the award for Best Quarantine Performance, but they preserved their record for tearing up the stage from their own backyard.
The Weeknd re-created the bloody clip for “Blinding Lights,” which earned him the award for Video of the Year. He brought the heat to New York City’s Hudson Yards with a fireworks display on the observation deck.
Portions of the performance were reportedly taped in advance in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Da Baby honored the late Kobe Bryant by wearing Lakers attire while performing a hits medley. Swathed in purple and gold, the rapper echoed the themes of social justice he explored at the BET Awards by demonstrating how a simple night out can quickly turn to chaos when a Black man encounters the police.
After being arrested and handcuffed, he manages to find his way on top of the cop’s cruiser, reclaiming his power as the dance troupe Jabbawockeez performs beside him.
A burning city collapses in the background as they continue having their say.
The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas made their first VMA appearance. The group performed their classic dance hit, “I Gotta Feeling,” before being joined by West Coast rapper Tyga and a projection of reggaeton star Nicky Jam.
Aside from the performances, there were other standout moments we just have to mention. H.E.R. took home the Video for Good Moonman for her song “I Can’t Breathe.” She accepted the award in her signature shades. “All the other nominees were super dope, I’m super proud of everybody speaking out on social injustice,” she said.
Megan Thee Stallion won the Best Hip-Hop Award for the summer smash “Savage.” After thanking her hotties and shaking up rose gold bottle of Ace of Spades, she made it clear that she was on the scene to stay.
“This is my second Moonman definitely not my last,” said the “WAP” rapper before popping the bottle and turning up H-Town style.
Congratulations to all of the winners from last night, including Lady Gaga, who seemed to be the evening’s big winner.