This year’s VMAs was laced with surprises, chaos, and beautiful people…like most would expect. But we can all agree that this year was different from previous shows in the sense that it took much more value in artistry rather than commercialism. There was an overall deeper sense of creativity and diversity compared to last year’s forgettable awards show. Perhaps the most important thing that set this VMAs apart from the others, was not the blissful absence of America’s former sweetheart (Taylor Swift) but actually the presence of strong black artists. Boundless and unapologetic, the melanin magic found in this year’s show was legendary. Starting it off with one of her many performances of the night, Robyn Fenty/Rihanna/Goddess blazed the stage with a pink palette and mosaic of her most dynamic songs.
She later sampled more of her work, both past and present, in the form of three more performances in a variety of equally iconic displays. The Video Vanguard recipient closed the show in an angelic ode to her roots and the past eleven years after receiving the award from possible future husband, Drake. Poise.
Also in the show we saw a fire performance from none other than Future, and equally vigorous appearance from Nicki Minaj with Ariana Grande. Both black musicians known for their honesty, presented themselves with pure confidence and liberation.
In perhaps the most intriguing surprise of the night, Father ‘Ye took the stage, this time though, with a scheduled timeframe of 4 highly anticipated minutes. Briefly speaking on the true intentions of his controversial visual for “Famous” and gleaming at his Queen, Kim Kardashian, he transitions to the realities of black life, telling his fans and anyone who would listen to never stop creating and spreading art culture no matter the circumstances. No matter how many of us are killed in the streets, we must honor them and prosper through our creative endeavors. He then goes on to premiere his latest work of art, the visual for “Fade” and for the next four minutes, my timeline went silent along with every other Kanye fan. Teyana Taylor in a empty training room sweating and dancing and being an all around goddess before the finale in which she transforms into a morphed fusion of a cat. Fire.
Whenever Beyonce graces any stage, she transforms the minds of those watching. Performing a medley of her powerful album LEMONDADE, she gave crafted a display meant for the gods. From her first stepping on the red carpet with her daughter and the entire cast of the visual LEMONADE including the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and Oscar Grant to gracefully winning Video of the Year Award, Queen Bey reminded us why she is in fact the Queen. She embodied the essence of a passionate black creative and served the entire world looks. Iconic.
By the end of the show, I was shook. I was beyond compelled by the overwhelming energy of my people being amazing and teaching the generation watching them that we truly are magical. I know the VMAs are not a Public Service Announcement for empowerment but for the first time, the show almost felt in support of the black community at a time of trial. This is a reflection of the constant evolving idea of black people in pop culture.
Images used in this article are courtesy of MTV, we do not own nor did we take any of the photos.