Here’s how Black artists dominated 2021 VMAs

Chlöe, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and more stole the show during the highly anticipated ceremony

The internet was abuzz on Sunday night while the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards aired, but it was the Black artists who completely stole the show by the time it ended.

For years now, MTV’s VMAs has grown into one of the biggest nights in pop culture, with music’s best and brightest delivering iconic performances and showing up to see who will win the coveted “Video of the Year” award. As the network celebrated their 40th anniversary, hit-maker Doja Cat hosted this year’s award show with a powerful debut performance from Chlöe Bailey, Normani‘s triumphant return with a performance of “Wild Side”, and Lil Nas X getting some major flowers a week before his album drops.

Here are some of the biggest moments from Black artists during last night’s epic show.

Video Music Awards VMA Chloe
Chloe Bailey performs onstage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS)

Chlöe is here to stay

Bailey broke the internet last weekend when she dropped her highly anticipated music video for her debut solo single, “Have Mercy”, as theGrio previously reported. Days after her music video had the internet in a frenzy, the singer, dancer, and producer took to the VMAs stage with her solo debut, which was presented by none other than her sister and frequent collaborator, Halle Bailey.

The singer immediately trended on Twitter after shocking the audience with her full-throttle performance, complete with an intense dance break that left viewers speechless.

Lil Nas X brings us back to Montero State Prison

Lil Nas X brought the house down with his VMA’s performance. Mashing up his latest hit “Industry Baby” with his boundary-pushing “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, the openly gay rapper burst on the stage with a marching band before segueing into a steamy dance break. Set back in the fictional “Montero State Prison“, the rapper stripped down into pink bedazzled boxers and broke it down with his backup dancers.

While the rapper is constantly dealing with haters in the public, it seems he may have had the last laugh last night as he took home the coveted Video of the Year award at the end of the night for his “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” video.

Doja Cat hosts and serves

With hits like “Kiss Me More (feat. SZA) and “Say So”, Doja Cat is one of the biggest names in music, which made her a perfect fit to host the legendary awards show. Kicking off the ceremony, the rapper and singer took to the stage to perform songs from her new album, Planet Her. She began her performance with a gravity-defying rendition of “Been Like This”, as she hovered above the VMAs crowd.

She then transitioned into a choreography-infused rendition of her single, “You Right”.

Ms. Normani if ya “Nasty”

Just two years ago, Normani broke the internet with her solo single “Motivation“, which she performed at the VMAs to rave reviews. Now, the pop star returned to the VMAs hit with her latest single, “Wild Side”, which samples Aaliyah‘s “One in a Million”. With a video that already went viral, Normani executed the now-iconic choreography flawlessly.

What really sold her performance however was her outro, which featured a major reference to Janet Jackson‘s classic “Would You Mind” performances. While Jackson famously gave fans a signature lap dance, Normani danced on none other than music star Teyana Taylor in the steamy bit.

Busta Rhymes celebrates an iconic career

Rap icon Busta Rhymes showed up to the 2021 VMAs, giving one of the most memorable performances of the night. The Brooklyn-native rapper was introduced by Swizz Beatz, before diving into a set over seven minutes long. Beginning with “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” alongside Spliff Star, his medley included hits “Ante Up”, “Scenario”, “Touch It”, “Look At Me Now”, and “Pass The Courvoisier”.

Check out his iconic set below:

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!