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Nicki Minaj Honors Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston in VMAs Speech

Nicki Minaj paid a loving tribute to all of the artists that have inspired her when she was presented with the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday (Aug. 28). 

Minaj kicked off her speech by giving thanks to key figures in the music world that have inspired the “Super Freaky Girl” rapper and her flow, including Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown, Jay-Z, and other rap giants. Not forgetting to include those who had given her “huge opportunities that [she’ll] never forget,” Minaj also gave a special shout-out to some well-known legends in the industry; among them were Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Eminem, and Rihanna.

After her thanks and several rounds of applause, she then had a somber moment in which she acknowledged the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, emphasizing the importance of mental health while being in the limelight:

“I wrote this down, I don’t know why, but this was in my spirit to say: I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here,” Minaj began. “I wish that people understood what they meant and what they were going through. I wish that people took mental health seriously–even for the people that you think have perfect lives.

I wish Pop Smoke and Juice Wrld and Nipsey Hussle were here. R.I.P. Daddy, my cousin Richard, and my business manager Angela, who I never got to say ‘rest in peace to publicly.”

The rapper rounded off her speech by thanking her collaborators, MTV, and most importantly, her “Barbz”.

The celebrities and figures listed in Nicki Minaj’s tribute have undoubtedly made an impact on both entertainment and the world, and she is no exception. Earlier this month, her newest single, “Super Freaky Girl,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This marks her first single solo to do so, and the first time an unaccompanied female solo rapper debuted at No. 1 since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. Her Sunday win was also her sixth VMA win overall–and based on the trajectory of her colorful and hit-studded career, there will be plenty more accolades headed her way. 


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