The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards

By: Amelia Dasari — Editor-in-Chief

Hosted by Doja Cat this year the MTV Video Music Awards were held on September 12th, 2021 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City. 

Justin Bieber leads this year’s list of nominees with seven, followed by Megan Thee Stallion with six. Billie Eilish, BTS, Doja Cat, Drake, Giveon, and Lil Nas X each earned five. The VMAS also welcomed first-time nominee, Olivia Rodrido who also earned five.

Justin Bieber opened the show with The Kid Laroi to perform their hit song “Stay,”and later, with his performance of “Ghost”. This was Bieber’s first VMA performance since 2015. He went home with the award for Best Pop for his song “Peaches” ft. Daniel Caesar and Giveon, as well as the Artist of the Year award. 

“I just wanna say that music is such an amazing opportunity and an amazing outlet to be able to reach people, to be able to bring us all together. And that’s why we’re here right now, right? We’re all here together — and we got a lot more in common than we don’t.”

All 11 songs on Rodrigo’s debut album “SOUR”, charted in the top 30 of Billboard’s Hot 100 List, making her the first female artist in Billboard history to do so. 

“This has been the most magical year of my life and it is all because of you guys,” said Rodrigo. 

Rodrigo went on to win “Best artist of the year”, “Push performance of the year”, and “Song of the year” for her debut single “Driver’s License” which was released in early January. Rodrigo also performed one of her many hit songs “Good 4 U ” live. 

“I just feel so grateful that I get to write music and make stuff that I love and call it my job, so thank you guys again for letting me do that.” Rodrigo states in her acceptance speech. 

Rodrigo dedicated her awards this year to all of the other girls who also write songs on their bedroom floor.

Billie Eilish And Rosalía faced backlash for winning the Best Latin Song Award for their collaboration “Lo Vas A Olvidar.”  

Journalist Sandra E. Garcia tweeted about her discontent with the situation. “Two white women won the Latin award. Y’all did this. Por Estar en Coro. I can show y’all freedom but y’all won’t like it”. I hope they give it to Taylor Swift every year”. 

Eilish and Rosalia are of Scottish/Irish and Spanish descent respectively. Latin superstars dominated this category, but Eilish and Rosalia surprisingly took home the prize. 

This ceremony was the 40th anniversary of the VMA’s, which started in 1984. To celebrate, there were live performances by early network stars like Cyndi Lauper and show opener Madonna. 

Lauper gave a speech pushing for women’s rights, specifically reproductive rights and equal pay. 

“Girls still want to have fun,” she said, hinting at her 1983 hit “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”. 

“But we also want to have funds. Equal pay. Control over our bodies. You know, fundamental rights!” she states. 

Lauper’s speech was very relevant, considering the recent wave of anti-abortion legislation, particularly throughout Southern states like Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott just signed one of the most prohibitive abortion laws in the nation. 

The night ended with Rapper Lil Nas X winning the Moon Person for Video of the Year, the night’s biggest honor, for his controversial music video for “Montero: Call Me By Your Name”. 

“I love you guys so much,” Lil Nas X told his fans as he rounded out his acceptance speech. “I do not take this for granted”.

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