September 25, 2023



2023 VMAs: Taylor Swift Wins, ‘N Sync Reunites, Shakira Impresses

2023 VMAs: Taylor Swift Wins, ‘N Sync Reunites, Shakira Impresses

During the lengthy four-hour event, Sean “Diddy” Combs received recognition, with LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne commemorating 50 years of hip-hop.

During last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift introduced her “Midnights” album. This year, the album played a pivotal role in her sweeping victory, where she secured multiple wins, including her fourth Video of the Year award. Swift now stands as the sole artist to have won this prestigious prize four times, with her latest win being attributed to her chart-topping hit “Anti-Hero.” As the four-hour show concluded on Tuesday night, Swift graciously shared the stage with key contributors to the music video, including Director of Photography Rina Yang and editor Chancler Haynes.

Swift bookended the show with her accomplishments, as she expressed her admiration during her acceptance of the first award of the night, presented by ‘N Sync. The audience, much like Swift herself, gave ‘N Sync a standing ovation at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

“I’m struggling to transition from one moment to the next here. I used to have your dolls. Are you guys planning something? What’s coming up next? There’s some big move in the works, and I need to know,” she remarked while addressing Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick while accepting the award for Best Pop. “You embody pop culture, so to receive this from your iconic pop hands, it’s truly overwhelming.”

Swift’s other notable wins during the broadcast included Best Direction and Song of the Year. She couldn’t contain her excitement as various artists took the stage, including Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, who brought their visually stunning “Bongos” video to life.

Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian Tiffany Haddish, who released a new song on Tuesday, was enthusiastically engaged as Doja Cat delivered a medley of her hits, including “Attention,” “Paint the Town Red,” and “Demons.” Diddy was honored with the Global Icon award and was joined by his son King Combs and twin daughters for a performance, although some of his Bad Boy label mates, such as Mase and Faith Evans, were notably absent.

The celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop continued at the VMAs with performances by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, DMC, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj, who hosted the show. Nicki also performed her new R&B-based single and won Best Hip-Hop for “Super Freaky Girl.”

“50 years of hip-hop, baby,” LL Cool J exclaimed after the performance.

Shakira received the MTV Video Vanguard Award and delivered a sleek performance of her hits, with moments reminiscent of her Super Bowl halftime show. She also took home the award for Best Collaboration for “TQG” with Karol G, and the two Colombian artists proudly shared the stage together.

Stray Kids, the boy band, was overwhelmed with awe when their names were announced as the winners of the Best K-pop award. Ice Spice became emotional and teary-eyed as they were named Best New Artist, expressing, “Oh my god, this is so cool… shout out to the Bronx.” Rema and Selena Gomez’s global hit, “Calm Down,” received the inaugural Best Afrobeats honor.

Rema enthusiastically acknowledged the African presence, stating, “Africa in the house tonight,” and expressing his love for Selena. He also paid tribute to Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and contemporary artists like Wizkid, Burna Boy, and Davido, giving credit to those who paved the way for him.

Rema invited Gomez to share a few words, and she thanked him for choosing her to be a part of the incredible song, extending her love to Nigeria.

Anitta, who faced unusual camerawork and awkward cutaway shots during her performance, secured the Best Latin award. SZA, despite being the second-most nominated artist, did not attend the show but won the Best R&B category. Despite her record-breaking year, the “Kill Bill” singer was notably overlooked for an Artist of the Year nomination.

The evening’s performers also included Peso Pluma, Demi Lovato, Metro Boomin, TXT, and Olivia Rodrigo. Rodrigo began with a slowed-down rendition of “Vampire” and later picked up the pace, even incorporating some chrome elements in her performance of “Get Him Back!”

The atmosphere at the show took a more serious turn when Moroccan-American rapper French Montana revealed that he had initiated a relief fund to aid earthquake victims in Morocco.

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Ralph Calaway

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