Oh, the MTV Video Music Awards, the end-of-Summer television event that reminds us that artists still perform in front of audiences, and that Kanye West still has shit to say. Last Summer, he announced he’d run for President in 2020. That was fun, right?
This year, the show was all about one thing. Well, two things. Rihanna and patronizing the audience. Every other performance was an elaborate Rihanna medley as if it were a tribute concert for someone who didn’t die in a tragic plane crash (Rihanna, please don’t die in a plane crash, or this will look pretty bad. Sorry, Aaliyah…).
Don’t get me wrong, I love Rihanna but the whole spectacle was a bit much, especially while we were also constantly being told not to forget about Beyonce and how wonderful she is, too. She’s not too old. We promise! Here’s Britney Spears! She’s not too old either…even though we’re introducing her as “The Legendary Britney Spears” as if she’s Tony Bennett or Burt fucking Bacharach.
Calling Britney Spears “The Legendary Britney Spears” is MTV lingo for “the aged-out, no longer relevant to anyone outside of a gay night club, Britney Spears.” Which is ironic, because they don’t call Beyonce “The Legendary Beyonce”…why? They’ve had a career for the same amount of time, and no shit, they’re the exact same age.
Who cares? For now, we got a six-year-younger model with a healthy body (of work) who certainly won’t “age out” for at least…let’s say 2022…and that’s Rihanna, so keep her on stage for as long as we possibly fucking can.
Key and Peele (of Key and Peele fame) didn’t do themselves any favors hosting this event…especially playing “MTV-style characters” with fake Twitter accounts and no personalities. If America hadn’t already embraced them as post-MADtv success stories, we probably would’ve dropped them based on their faux-teen banter that took up far too much time that could have easily been filled with more Rihanna.
I bet Rihanna would be called “Queen” if people weren’t so uncomfortable saying “Queen RiRi” out of fear of belittling the mentally handicapped.
The rest of the performances that weren’t Rihanna were frightfully bad. Michael Phelps introduced Future, saying that during his iconic “Michael Phelps Face” meme from the Rio Olympics, he was actually listening to Future. Proving once and for all that trap music gets you pumped up to destroy; and that it’s likely caused more deaths than bath salts.
The whole thing was set in New York City, Live from Madison Square Garden, so naturally, we simply must see Nick Jonas (the poor man’s every other artist) chimping around an NYC diner while The Fat Jew showers himself in bacon, and various other people from YouTube and Instragram’s “Who Gives a Fuck?” list sit around awkwardly staring.
Back to Kanye West. Yeezy delivered a speech that could have certainly been declared unforgettable if anyone could ever decipher what the fuck he’s talking about. In the midst of a scandal over his 21-city Pop-Up Shop tour selling generic Gildan T-Shirts and thrift store merchandise with tacky iconography for 14x the price, Kanye West talked to the audience about what it’s like to hang out with “rich people, AKA white people.”
…at the MTV VMAs.
…an awards show where 99% of the people on stage–performing, introducing, announcing–are rich black people.
…at a show where they gave Calvin Harris and Rihanna an award for a song that Taylor Swift wrote, while Kanye West badmouths Taylor Swift on stage.
All in all, the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden was one of excitement to see famous people you’d heard of, and a clear effort to keep every acceptance speech as short as possible in order to create more time for another Rihanna performance. So many desperate attempts to stay relevant–including a jokey portrayal of Ryan Lochte by Jimmy Fallon that was pure filler.
At the end, Rihanna wound up winning the “Michael Jackson Award for definitely not touching dem kids” or something. The award was presented by a suited-up and bashful Drake. He professed his love for her and was then–in wondrous spectacle–denied a kiss from Queen RiRi herself.
The embarrassment was palpable and very uncomfortably cringe. But, afterwards, you just had to think: this is probably just another normal day in the life of Drake. Crushing.
Last year’s VMAs were also pretty bad…and we could all see the tension mounting between fellow artists and hosts alike.
What we received this year was a testament to a culture that is destroying art. The ouroboros of the pop culture media, pumping up stars based on talent, fresh faces, name recognition, or just a nice ass–and then stomping on them at any opportunity.
Now you’re left with such a meager and dwindling pool of debatable talent that you have to cut out any actual interesting or intellectually provocative–
–I’m sorry, I’m being told this article needs to be cut short for another performance by Rihanna. Goodnight everyone.