What we learned from MTV’s Video Music Awards


Photo courtesy of the official MTV Facebook page for the Video Music Awards.

The MTV Video Music Awards have a longstanding history of representing both the best and worst in music. More often than not, these moments offer artists a first class ticket to infamy and beyond. While there were virtually no show-stopping, jaw-dropping or I-have-to-tweet-about-this-now moments, there were a handful we’ll want to remember.

Rihanna’s legacy

To some, Rihanna’s “Anti,” released in January 2016, fell flat. Excluding “Work,” this record sailed through a sea of obscurity between the shores of Adele’s “25” and Beyonce’s “Lemonade.”

All was remedied once Rihanna began her first of four medleys at Sunday’s Video Music Awards. Strung together based on her many sub-genres, these medleys featured electrically choreographed tracks like “We Found Love and soulful vocals on ballads like “Stay.”

Rihanna reminded us all that she will always be the one thing no other artist can be, Rihanna. This was more than enough to justify MTV’s decision to present her with the 2016 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, further confirming her legacy among the most elite in music.

Kanye West moves on

Anyone who knows Kanye couldn’t help but feel like a child trying to sleep on Christmas Eve, after rumors that MTV gave him the approval to do whatever he wanted on the show were spread.

With the “Kanye vs. Taylor” feud reignited, who knew what Yeezus might do? Before introducing a world premiere video for “Fade,” West offered a thoughtful monologue in which he explained topics ranging from the art influence behind his controversial “Famous” video, to recent gun violence in Chicago, confessing the details of both his artistic and personal maturity on the stage.

Without offering a formal apology, Kanye inadvertently admitted his wish to place his contentious past when his speech culminated with a simple, “Bro, I love y’all.”

Beyoncé’s wins

Beyoncé has long been a staple of iconic VMA moments. One of them being her pregnancy announcement on the show’s stage in 2011. After rewriting the script on album releases in early 2016 with “Lemonade,” it comes as no surprise that MTV offered Queen Bey a 15 minute slot to offer a condensed live version of the legendary visual album.

As if that weren’t enough, the diva went on to win two awards including Video of the Year, bringing her total VMA wins to 21, more than any other artist.

Hello from the outside

Heading into this award season, fans, critics and music industry experts have been asking the same question: How does one possibly choose between Adele and Beyoncé?

If the fan-voted VMAs are any indication, it may be much simpler than originally thought. Although nominated in eight categories, Adele stole the post-VMA conversation by not receiving a single award Sunday night. This came as quite the shock considering “Helloshattered virtually every record in music monitoring.

As the music industry sets its sights on the 2017 Grammys, the question remains: Will industry pundits bestow the British songstress with the proper awards to reflect her unrivaled sales numbers and worldwide prestige?

Rylee Pedotti can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.