The 2022 Video Music Awards were chock-full of memorable moments courtesy of music’s biggest stars, including Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, Lizzo and Taylor Swift.
At least three artists made history on Sunday night: Blackpink made its United States awards show debut and became the first female K-pop act to win the prize for group of the year; Bad Bunny delivered an electric performance from Yankee Stadium and became the first non-English-language performer to receive the award for artist of the year; and Taylor Swift announced a new album after becoming the only person to accept the award for video of the year three times.
Also in the headlines was an eyebrow-raising cameo from Johnny Depp, whose virtual face was superimposed onto a giant moon man that dangled over the VMAs stage at New Jersey’s Prudential Center.
Here are other highlights from the eventful MTV telecast.
Lizzo shuts down her haters
After turning heads on the red carpet and performing a show-stopping medley of her hits “About Damn Time” and “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready),” Lizzo briefly considered addressing “the b— that got something to say about me in the press” — before thinking better of it. (The singer was referencing Minaj’s infamous 2015 VMAs speech, in which Minaj called out Miley Cyrus for comments Cyrus made in an interview with the New York Times.)
“You know what? I’m not gonna say nothing,” Lizzo decided while accepting the video for good award. “They be like, ‘Lizzo, why don’t you clap back? Why don’t you clap back?’ ‘Cause b—, I’m winning.”
The “Special” artist’s remarks came shortly after Aries Spears body-shamed her in an interview with the Art of Dialogue, which caused many to interpret her speech as a response to the comedian.
“Lemme make one thing VERY clear — I wasn’t addressing anybody in my speech last night,” Lizzo tweeted Monday morning, dispelling the speculation. “I was addressing EVERYBODY.”
Minaj stands up for mental health
In addition to co-hosting the ceremony, Minaj was the 2022 recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Per tradition, the Video Vanguard honoree performed several of her greatest hits, including “Moment 4 Life,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Anaconda” and “Super Bass.”
She also gave shout-outs to Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Drake and more during her acceptance speech, which touched on the subject of mental health.
“I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here,” she said. “I wish that people understood … what they were going through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even when you think they have the perfect lives.”
Måneskin experiences a wardrobe malfunction
MTV was forced to censor Italian rock band Måneskin’s VMA performance of “Supermodel” after bassist Victoria De Angelis’ sparkly black top fell off her shoulder and exposed her breasts.
In true rock ’n’ roll fashion, De Angelis continued playing through the wardrobe malfunction. MTV cut to the crowd every time the topless De Angelis was about to enter the frame.