MTV’s 2018 Video Music Awards ceremony was not as dramatic as previous years — although what could ever compare to the 2009 KanyeTaylor debacle? — but it certainly had some interesting moments. Notable artists such as Beyonce and Jay-Z did not attend, but those featured had some thought-provoking moments.

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Tiffany Haddish opened the awards show with Kevin Hart and turned some heads with her jokes. Haddish horrendously butchered singer Camila Cabello‘s name and then went on to roast Cabello’s former band, Fifth Harmony. Cabello, who was nominated for five awards, left the girl band in 2016 to pursue a solo career and Haddish decided to poke fun at one of the most dramatic band splits in recent years. Haddish said she was proud of Cabello’s solo accomplishments and then added, “So those of you watching at home, hi Fifth Harmony!” Rapper Nicki Minaj was shown with a look of disgust on her face during Haddish’s comments and, later in the evening, called her out. While Minaj was accepting an award, she said, “Don’t be coming for Fifth Harmony because Normani is that b—h!” Clearly the rapper did not appreciate any implications that her friend’s band wasn’t good enough to be invited. Haddish also poked fun at DJ Khaled, who didn’t look amused, and at Hollywood couples with quick engagements — which prompted Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson to share a look. Hart also took a jab at rappers with face tattoos, saying “If this s—t don’t work out, you’re not gonna be able to get a job!” Hart also pointed out rapper Lil Xan as “the reason your twelve-year-old cousin wants to get a face tattoo.”


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Camila Cabello, Cardi BChildish Gambino/Donald Glover and Jennifer Lopez  were the most notable winners of the night. Cabello was chosen as Artist of the Year and won Video of the Year for her hit “Havana.” “I can’t believe this is for me,” the 21-year-old artist exclaimed. Cardi B took home the awards for Best New Artist and Song of Summer for “I Like It,” which also features J Balvin and Bad Bunny. This was the rapper’s first public appearance since she gave birth in July and proved that your career doesn’t stop just because you’re a mom. “A couple of months ago people were saying, you’re gambling your career by having a baby,” Cardi B said. “I had a baby … and now I’m still winning awards.” Gambino won three awards for his video “This is America”, which showcases black identity and police brutality.

Jennifer Lopez received the Vanguard Award to celebrate her 20 years in show business and is the first Latin artist to do so. “It’s been an incredible journey of dreaming my wildest dreams and then watching them come true,” Lopez said. Lopez also gave an incredible performance with a medley of her biggest hits. She was even briefly joined by rapper Ja Rule for an unforgettable throwback.

Perhaps the most confusing moment of the night was the “tribute” to Aretha Franklin presented by Madonna. MTV showed a brief video clip of Franklin singing before Madonna launched into a meandering speech about her own career. While Madonna did say that Franklin inspired her and “made her career possible,” many thought that the Queen of Pop did the Queen of Soul a disservice for making such a self-centered speech during what should have been a reverential moment for the dearly departed Franklin. Hopefully Franklin will get a more fitting tribute at another awards show.


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