Beyonce on Sunday won MTV’s Video of the Year for Formation, her career’s most politically charged work which showed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I dedicate this award to the people of New Orleans. God bless you guys,” Beyonce said of the video shot in the southern US city which took musical inspiration from its bounce hip-hop scene.
Beyonce owned the MTV Video Music Awards - like she did in 2014 - with a 16-minute performance featuring her recent hits from Lemonade, working various stages with strong, layered vocals, skilled dance moves and even an outfit change - all as the audience watched in awe and cheered her on.
Queen B kicked of her strong set with Pray You Catch Me as blue lights beamed onstage. She was wearing white, but later stripped down to a black leotard with full sleeves as she sang Hold Up and Sorry. She grew angry and twerked while performing Don’t Hurt Yourself and ended with the anthemic Formation.
“If y’all came to slay, sing along with me,” she said.
The audience at Madison Square Garden watched intensely Sunday, at times recording the performance with their phones.
It was reminiscent of the 2014 VMAs, when Beyonce also performed for 16 minutes and accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. This year it is being awarded to Rihanna, who split up her performances throughout the night.
Beyonce’s top-notch performance was the opposite of Britney Spears, who returned to the VMA stage after 10 years. Not only did she lip sync, in typical fashion, she did so badly. Spears performed her hit Make Me... and danced slickly, but she didn’t actually sing a word of the song live. She was joined by rapper G-Eazy - and she lip synched the hook to his hit song, Me, Myself and I.
Winners of Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, presented at Madison Square Garden in New York:
Song of the summer: Fifth Harmony, All in My Head (Flex).
Video of the year: Beyonce, Formation.
Female video: Beyonce, Hold Up.
Male video: Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna, This is What You Came For.
Hip-hop video: Drake, Hotline Bling.
Collaboration video: Fifth Harmony feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Work from Home.
New artist: DNCE
Art direction: David Bowie, Blackstar.
Choreography: Beyoncé, Formation (Chris Grant, Jaquel Knight, Dana Foglia)
Direction: Beyoncé, Formation (Melina Matsoukas)
Cinematography: Beyonce, Formation (Malik Sayeed)
Editing: Beyonce, Formation (Jeff Selis)
Visual effects: Coldplay, Up & Up (Vania Heymann, Gloria F X)
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