On Sunday, all eyes were on Nicki Minaj at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. The rapper, 39, stole the show by performing a medley of hits before accepting the night’s most prestigious award, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
Minaj slayed the performance with plenty of twerking, grinding with her shirtless male dancers, and an epic pole dancing moment, dressed chicly in a Barbie pink look consisting of a sparkly top, mini skirt, and lace-up booties.
Her set included “Roman’s Revenge,” “Chun‐Li,” “Moment 4 Life,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Anaconda” and “Super Bass,” which got Taylor Swift smiling and singing along in the audience.
Of course, the performance wasn’t complete without Minaj’s fiery new hit “Super Freaky Girl.” The song from her upcoming fifth studio album went viral on TikTok this summer due to its catchy lyrics and the dance craze started by user @lorddroman.
“I can lick it, I can ride it while you slippin’ and slidin’ / I can do all them little tricks and keep the d–k up inside it,” Minaj raps on the track, which samples Rick James’ 1981 song “Super Freak.”
“You can smack it, you can grip it, you can go down and kiss it / And every time he leave me ‘lone, he always tell me he miss it.”
Minaj returned to the VMAs stage for the first time in four years, performing at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. She performed a “Queen”-themed medley in 2018 that included hits like “Majesty,” “Barbie Dreams,” and “Ganja Burn.”
Minaj gave a shout-out to her Barbz and the artists who have inspired her over the years, including Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Drake, while accepting the Video Vanguard Award, which is given to artists “for their outstanding contributions and profound impact on music video and popular culture,” according to MTV.
We also saw Nicki starting to choke up while talking about the importance of mental health.
“Let me tell you something … I never, ever in my life have written a speech, and today I jotted something on my phone … first of all, to everyone in here, thank you and God bless you,” she said in part.
“This was in my spirit to say. I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here. I wish people took mental health seriously … even when you think they have the perfect lives.”
The Previous Video Jennifer Lopez, Kanye West, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, The Beatles, Janet Jackson, and Madonna are among the Vanguard honorees.
Along with the award and performance, Minaj was chosen to co-emcee this year’s awards show with Jack Harlow and LL Cool J.
She was also nominated for two awards: Best Hip-Hop for “Do We Have a Problem?” with Lil Baby and Song of the Summer for “Super Freaky Girl.”