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A Look Back at the MTV Video Music Award's Most Iconic Moments


Get ready—the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards airs on Sunday, August 28 at 8 PM ET live from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. And this year not one, not two but THREE iconic stars will share hosting duties. So, what do you need to know before the chaos begins and those performances you’ll be talking about for days?

Where to Watch the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards

Tune in live on channels including MTV, VH1, BET, BET Her, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2 and Nickelodeon. You can also stream the VMAs on Paramount+ or MTV’s website.

Who’s Hosting the 2022 MTV VMAs?

In a bold and historic move, three generations of rap greats are taking on the role of emcee—LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj, and Jack Harlow!

Who’s Performing at the 2022 MTV VMAs?

You won’t want to miss host and 2022 Video Vanguard Award recipient Nicki Minaj perform a career-spanning medley of hits as she accepts her honor. Her co-host Jack Harlow is also slated to perform as are the following hitmakers:

  • Anitta
  • Bad Bunny
  • J Balvin
  • Kane Brown
  • Lizzo
  • Mâneskin
  • Marshmello & Khalid
  • Panic! At the Disco
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers

What are the Most Iconic Moments of the MTV VMAs Over the Years?

In honor of MTV’s big night, let’s take a little walk down memory lane. Things changed forever on August 1, 1981, when MTV debuted, kicking off with “Video Killed the Radio Star '' by The Buggles. Three years later, in 1984, the very first the MTV Video Music Awards aired, celebrating artists and their visual contributions that made the burgeoning network a hit. It was awards show like none other, produced with shocking moments and all the excess of the decade.

This is the 38th year of the MTV Video Music Awards so let’s look back at some of the most unforgettable VMA moments of the past four (yes, you read that right) FOUR decades . . .

2011 VMAs: Beyonce Debuts Her Baby Bump on Stage

The public had no idea Beyonce and Jay-Z were expecting their first child until that big reveal at the very end of her performance of “Love on Top.” Queen Bey proved she is the queen of surprise.

2010 VMAs: Lady Gaga Wears a Meat Dress

Feels like it was just yesterday when Lady Gaga showed up to the awards dressed in head-to-toe beef. It was the steak chapeau that really did it for us, though. This ensemble is now 12 years ago. Which might make it dry-aged beef? (womp womp)

2009 VMAs: Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift on Stage

The year was 2009. The moment was when Kanye West awkwardly busted in on Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video. Ye just couldn’t accept the fact that the then 19-year-old Swift beat out Beyonce for the win. It was all kinds of awful but kept viewers on their toes wondering what could possibly happen next.

2003 VMAs: Britney Spears and Madonna Kiss Onstage

Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Madonna joined forces for an epic performance at the 2003 VMAs. The Material Girl locked lips with both Spears and Aguilera, but for some reason the kiss with Britney bigger headlines. The performance started out with Madge’s “Like a Virgin” and ended with “Hollywood.”

2000 VMAs: Rage Against the Machine Bassist Climbs the Stage

In 2000, Limp Bizkit beat out Rage Against the Machine for the Best Rock Video moon man. This didn’t sit well with any of the RATM members, but it was bassist Tim Commerford who climbed the set’s scaffolding in protest. As it goes with live TV, no one knew whether this was a bit or not, but Commerford was escorted down and out of the venue. He spent that night in jail for disorderly conduct.


1994 VMAs: Newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Open The Show with a Kiss

In 1994, the streets were buzzing about the odd couple that was Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson. The pair, who were only married for two years, decided to put their love on display at the VMAs by publicly locking lips. This was just a few months after they tied the knot. Presley is famous for saying to the crowd, “And they said it wouldn’t last.”

1984 VMAs: Madonna Performs “Like a Virgin”

At the very first VMAs in 1984, Madonna was relatively new to the masses but already pursuing her quest for world domination. She performed wearing a white wedding dress while rolling around singing what would soon be the smash hit “Like a Virgin.” This wasn’t what the singer was originally going for, but after her shoe fell off onstage, she had to think fast to make the performance work. The result? A VMA moment we’re still talking about today.

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