The definition of a vanguard, according to Merriam-Webster, is someone who is the “leader of an action or movement.” For her VMA performance as this year’s recipient of the Video Vanguard Award, Rihanna is taking that definition to heart by doing something no artist has done before. For the first time in VMA history, she’s giving not one, but four mini performances throughout the show, adding up to an unmissable career-spanning medley.
Rih — looking pretty in pink in rose-colored sunnies and thigh-high boots — kicked off the festivities with a dance-centric medley of her pulse-pounding hits “Don’t Stop The Music,” “Only Girl (In The World),” “We Found Love,” and “Where Have You Been.” It was the kind of performance that got all of Madison Square Garden rumbling — Britney, Kim, Kanye… everyone was on their feet. Get Rih-dy: the 2016 VMAs are officially underway, y’all.
Along with receiving the esteemed Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, Rih is also up for four additional awards tonight. “Work,” her sultry collaboration with Drake, is nominated for Best Female Video and Best Collaboration, while “This Is What You Came For,” her collaboration with Calvin Harris, is up for Best Male Video and Best Collaboration.