Wyclef Jean said it himself: Shakira is a “musical genius.”
On Tuesday, the Colombian star was awarded the MTV VMA Vanguard Award for her musical trajectory and out-of-this-world visuals throughout her decades-long career. She is the first South American artist to be honored with this award.
Amid chants of her name, Shakira thanked MTV and Wyclef Jean for the award, along with the video directors and creative partners, her label partners, her parents, children Milan and Sasha, and the “amazing women who work with me.”
“I want to share this award with my fans, who always support me through thick and thin. Thank you so much for being my army and helping me fight all my battles,” Shakira said.
She ended her speech in Spanish: “This is for my people. The Latin American people inside and outside of this country, thank you for inspiring me and injecting me with so much power and will to keep going. I love you.”
Prior to her award acceptance speech, the star hit the stage with a massive performance that opened with a “She-Wolf” howl as she danced in a cave set, bringing back the dance moves she made famous in 2009.
The singer transitioned into her hit collabs of today as she performed her single with Rauw Alejandro, “Te Felicito,” and sang her verses from her Karol G collab “TQG,” which is up for multiple awards tonight, over some fiery dance moves. (In case you needed a reminder of her legend status.)
The Colombian star then brought it back to the early aughts with a performance of her 2002 smash “Objection (Tango)” surrounded by a group of drummers. Later, Shakira was handed a guitar for a solo. (Taylor Swift was spotted in the crowd feeling this moment.)
Shakira followed her solo up with the first vocals of “Ojos Asi” where she delivered a traditional Armenian dance, and then launched into delivering “Whenever, Wherever.” She continued her performance surrounded by numerous dancers on the floor as she led the crowd in a chant and sing-along during “Hips Don’t Lie.”
You thought that was it? She brought it back to 2023 with an electrifying performance of her smash chart-topper “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” as she crowd-surfed into the crowd, which earned her a well-deserved standing ovation.
Wyclef Jean, who was featured on “Hips Don’t Lie,” presented Shakira’s Vanguard award, MTV’s equivalent to a lifetime achievement award. Jean highlighted her “one-of-a-kind voice” when introducing her. Shakira joins a list of massive stars to earn the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. Among the recent winners are Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, Jennifer Lopez, PInk, Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake.
Along with earning the Vanguard Award, she’s also nominated for Artist of the Year, Best Collaboration and Best Latin for her song with Karol G “TQG,” along with “Acróstica.”
Shakira is a VMA veteran. She earned the award for International Viewer’s Choice for “Ojos Así” in 2000 and “Whenever, Wherever” in 2002. In 2006, “Hips Don’t Lie” took home the award for Best Choreography, and the following year, Shakira and Beyoncé took home the trophy for Most Earthshattering Collaboration for “Beautiful Liar.”
Among the performers for the night are Anitta, Demi Lovato, Doja Cat, Karol G, Kelsea Ballerini, Måneskin, Stray Kids, Tomorrow x Together, along with Diddy, who earned the Global Icon title.
Taylor Swift leads this year’s nominations with eight nods, followed by SZA with six.
The MTV Video Music Awards are airing live on MTV from the Prudential Center in New Jersey.
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