By Wynter Bond
The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards began with a bang as pop-rap sensation Nicki Minaj took the stage with her new single “Trini Dem Girls” complete with a crew of dancers in island costuming. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Nicki Minaj performance unless there was a surprise. Joining the stage as “The Night is Still Young” played was none other than Taylor Swift. The duo also sang a snippet of Swift’s “Bad Blood” together, alluding to their brief Twitter feud earlier in the year.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis also reemerged after staying low on the music scene since their last single “White Walls” performing “Downtown,” a pop song with an 80’s rap vibe featuring former The Treacherous Three member Kool Moe Dee and fellow pioneering rap icons Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz.
The latest celeb feud erupted onstage between the hostess and Minaj, when Minaj seemed to address some comments Miley Cyrus made to press outlets in previous weeks regarding the Young Money rapper’s concern as to why her video was not nominated for Video of the Year. The female rapper was heard and then seen mouthing offensive comments at the hostess as she concluded her acceptance speech for her award for Best Hip Hop video.
Demi Lovato performed her new song “Cool for the Summer,” complete with a remix version with her pal Australian rapper Iggy Azalea.
Also returning to the VMA stage was Justin Bieber after five years of being absent as a performer. Bieber performed his new singles “Where Are U Now” and “What Do You Mean?” At the end of the performance, Bieber was emotional and cried on the edge of the stage. In the audience, ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez seemed unaffected and was even reported to be on her cell phone during most of his comeback performance.
Newly minted pop star Tori Kelly gave a strong performance of her new single “Should’ve Been Us” as well.
Virginia Beach native and former Princess Anne High School Cavalier, Pharell Williams, also took the stage downtown from the main venue to perform for the VMAs.
The VMA Vanguard Award is given to an artist that has made a profound effect on the MTV culture. The Vanguard Award (previously named the Lifetime Award but renamed the Michael Jackson Vanguard award in 1991) was presented to hip hop mogul Kanye West by Taylor Swift. It has been argued that he has not made a significant impact on the company’s culture. Taylor Swift, even Nicki Minaj have made more profound waves with the channel. They have legacies, ones that they have built upon while also recreating themselves and their sounds. The public doesn’t see Kanye West Halloween costumes, but rather Kanye West memes. Even though the speech teetered on the filibuster side, and many hope the jab about running for President was a joke, there are many who feel as though he fully deserves the award.
Cyrus did a pretty good job of making fun of herself and the antics that made her “adult transformation” known at the 2013 VMAs. If you don’t remember, it was a foam finger + Miley Cyrus + Robin Thicke…you get the idea. Cyrus, of course, had to make her hostess gig memorable as she presented in colorful and outrageous fashions that got the internet talking. The former Disney princess has made it known via social media that she is a colorful hippie, so many expected craziness as soon as it was announced that she was hosting. And of course, there had to be a nip slip….oh dear Miley…
Cyrus surprised everyone at the end of the night by being the final performance of the night. Joining her on stage was a mob of drag queens, all more colorful and confusing than the last. The performed song “Do It” is available on her website as part of a new album for free.
2015 VMA Award Winners:
Best Male Video: Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk”
Song of the Summer: 5 Seconds of Summer “She’s Kinda Hot”
Best Rock Video: Fall Out Boy “Uma Thurman”
Best Hip Hop Video: Nicki Minaj “Anaconda”
Best Female Video: Taylor Swift “Blank Space”
Video With A Social Message: Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend “One Man Can Change the World”
Artist to Watch: Fetty Wap “Trap Queen”
Video of the Year: Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar “Bad Blood”
Best Collaboration: Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar “Bad Blood”
Best Art Direction: Snoop Dogg “So Many Pros”
Best Choreography: OK Go “I Won’t Let You Down”
Best Cinematography: Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar “Never Catch Me”
Best Direction: Kendrick Lamar “Alright”
Best Editing: Beyoncé “7/11”
Best Visual Effects: Skrillex & Diplo “Where Are U Now”