The legendary rapper and hip-hop star hit the stage about halfway through the award show in Newark, NJ, to perform a truly epic set before accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. After dancing and belting out hits like “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” “Throw It Back,” “Get Ur Freak On,” and “Work It,” she was introduced by Cardi B and delivered a heartfelt, teary-eyed speech touching on her legacy in the music industry.
“I promised I wouldn’t cry because I cry every award [show], but the Video Vanguard Award means so much to me,” she said. “I have worked diligently for over two decades. I never thought I’d be standing up here . . . it don’t go unnoticed, the support and love you’ve shown me over the years.”
She went on to thank God, her mother, Aaliyah, Timbaland, Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Madonna, MTV, and more. She also made sure to shout out all the dancers who have helped her music videos reach icon status over the years.
“Lastly, I want to dedicate this award to the dance communities all around the world. When y’all get on the stage with these artists, y’all are not just props,” she told the dancers around her, ushering them to the front of the stage. “Y’all are the icing on the cake, y’all are the beat to the heart. I dedicate this to every dance community out there.”
Keep scrolling to watch her speech, as well as see some gorgeous photos from her epic performance.