MTV VMAs: Beyonce steals the show and crowned biggest winner of the night

Beyonce puts up a stunning, meaningful show as she scoops up multiple awards and Britney makes her big return to the VMA stage since 2007

Martina Borg
29 August 2016, 9:43am
Beyonce accepting one of her many awards at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards
Beyonce accepting one of her many awards at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards
Beyonce’s performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards still has social media buzzing. The superstar not only led the nominations 11 nominations, but she was also the biggest winner of the night after scooping up gongs for eight of the nominations including Video of the Year for her Formation video, as well as Best Female Video for Hold Up.

Besides dominating the awards ceremony, the singer got tongues wagging due to her impressive performance at the ceremony; where she performed of several of her "Lemonade" hits. A dancer formation on stage also got audiences wondering whether the singer meant to make a point about feminism or whether it was meant to pay tribute to Prince.

In addition, Beyonce’s guests at the MTV Video Music Awards included the mothers of four unarmed black men killed in the US: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and Eric Garner. The women’s sons were killed by armed police officers and a volunteer neighbourhood security worker, and their deaths have become something of a symbol of racism in policing.

Beyonce's guests for the night included the mothers of young men who were victims of shooting when they were unarmed
Beyonce's guests for the night included the mothers of young men who were victims of shooting when they were unarmed
The mothers had also been a part of Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade, where they were holding photos of their murdered sons. Brown, the 18-year-old fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri; Martin, the 17-year-old fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida; Grant, the 22-year-old fatally shot by a transportation security office in Oakland, California; and Garner, the 43-year-old who died after being placed in a chokehold by police in New York City. The first of the victims, Martin, had inspires the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew after Brown’s death and ultimately led to protests throughout the city.

Other less politically- charged highlights of the night included Britney Spears’ return to the stage for the first time since 2007, where she performed her new single, "Make Me" with rapper G-Eazy. Although some news reports were underwhelmed by her performance particularly in comparison to Queen B’s show, the singer still managed to wow the crowds and prove she was still more than capable of setting up the stunning dance performances that made her famous.

Britney Spears performing alongside rapper G-Eazy at the 2016 MTV VMAs
Britney Spears performing alongside rapper G-Eazy at the 2016 MTV VMAs
Meanwhile Rihanna, who also accepted the night’s biggest honour, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, delighted the crowds with five-minute segments throughout the show to the many different personas that define her best hits; with performances featuring her most popular party anthems from “Don’t Stop the Music,” “Only Girl (In the World),” he debut single “Pon De Replay,” to party anthems including “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been,” as well as sections featuring ballads like “Stay,” and “Diamonds” among others.

In even more entertaining news of the night, Kanye West used his four minute speech segment to pay tribute to himself.

“Later tonight ‘Famous’ might lose to Beyonce but I can’t be mad, I’m always wishing for Beyonce to win,” he joked, making reference to his controversial stage-crash, when he stormed the stage to snatch the VMA awarded to Taylor Swift in 2009 for Best Female Video “You Belong with Me”. At the time West had insisted that Beyonce deserved the award more than the then nineteen-year-old star and the moment generated multiple memes and media attention.

The rapper went on to defend “Famous,” his controversial music video that featured an art display of West and celebrities and public figures like Donald Trump, Chris Brown and George W. Bush lying naked in bed. 

“It was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV. The audacity to put Anna Wintour next to Donald Trump. I put Ray J in it, bro. This is fame bro. I see you Amber,” West joked pointing to his ex-girlfriend in the crowd. “My wife is a [gangsta], not a lot of people’s wives would let them say that.”

Full list of winners:

Video of the Year:
Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Formation” -- WINNER
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Kanye West – “Famous”                                      

Best Female Video:
Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Hold Up” -- WINNER
Sia – “Cheap Thrills”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”
Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Best Male Video:
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For” -- WINNER
Kanye West – “Famous”
The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”

Best Collaboration:
Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”
Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign – “Work From Home” -- WINNER
Ariana Grande ft. Lil Wayne – “Let Me Love You”
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Best Hip Hop Video:
Drake – “Hotline Bling” -- WINNER
Desiigner – “Panda”
Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”
Chance The Rapper – “Angels”
2 Chainz – “Watch Out”

Best Pop Video:
Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Formation” -- WINNER
Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Alessia Cara – “Wild Things”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Best Rock Video:
All Time Low – “Missing You”
Coldplay – “Adventure Of A Lifetime”
Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato – “Irresistible”
twenty one pilots – “Heathens” -- WINNER
Panic! At The Disco – “Victorious”

Best Electronic Video:
Calvin Harris & Disciples – “How Deep Is Your Love” -- WINNER
99 Souls ft. Destiny’s Child & Brandy – “The Girl Is Mine”
Mike Posner – “I Took A Pill In Ibiza”
Afrojack – “SummerThing!”
The Chainsmokers ft. Daya – “Don’t Let Me Down”

Breakthrough Long Form Video:
Florence + The Machine – The Odyssey
Beyoncé – Lemonade -- WINNER
Justin Bieber – PURPOSE: The Movement
Chris Brown – Royalty
Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy

Best New Artist:
Bryson Tiller
Desiigner
Zara Larsson
Lukas Graham
DNCE -- WINNER

Song of Summer Presented by Verizon:
Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey – “Closer”
Drake featuring Kyla & Wizkid – “One Dance”
Fifth Harmony featuring Fetty Wap – “All In My Head (Flex)” -- WINNER
Justin Timberlake – “Can’t Stop The Feeling”
Kent Jones – “Don’t Mind”
Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber MØ– “Cold Water”
Nick Jonas featuring Ty Dolla $ign – “Bacon”
Selena Gomez – “Kill ‘Em With Kindness”
Sia – “Cheap Thrills”

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORIES

Best Art Direction:
Beyoncé – “Hold Up”
Fergie – “M.I.L.F. $”
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
David Bowie – “Blackstar” -- WINNER
Adele – “Hello”

Best Choreography:
Beyoncé – “Formation” -- WINNER
Missy Elliott ft. Pharrell – “WTF (Where They From)”
Beyoncé – “Sorry”
FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X”
Florence + The Machine – “Delilah”

Best Direction:
Beyoncé – “Formation” -- WINNER
Coldplay – “Up&Up”
Adele – “Hello”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Tame Impala – “The Less I Know The Better”

Best Cinematography:
Beyoncé – “Formation” -- WINNER
Adele – “Hello”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Alesso – “I Wanna Know”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Best Editing:
Beyoncé – “Formation” -- WINNER
Adele – “Hello”
Fergie – “M.I.L.F. $”
David Bowie – “Lazarus”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Best Visual Effects:
Coldplay – “Up&Up” -- WINNER
FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X”
Adele – “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”
Zayn – “PILLOWTALK”

Martina Borg focuses on lifestyle and society issues