5 Crucial Moments From MTV’s Video Music Awards

Beyoncé was flawless, Nicki Minaj did her thing and the cable network didn’t shy away from events in Ferguson.

Beyoncé performs at the 2014 Video Music Awards.
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 Video Music Awards. MTV

It’s not MTV’s fault that its staple Video Music Awards is known more for shock and awe than actual trophies. While it definitely aims every year to earn its watercooler moments, far too many freak-of-nature occurrences—Kanye storming the stage, the timing of Beyoncé’s pregnancy—make us tune in each year for the moments that weren’t planned. So when all things go according to plan, it’s too easy to say the VMAs were boring just because everyone stayed in their damn seats and kept their hands and butts to themselves.

That last part’s not entirely true, since Nicki Minaj jiggled her jungle rump all over the Inglewood, Calif., arena with a performance of “Anaconda” that left the entire Twittersphere speechless. But for better or worse, it was one of the very few moments that did. Five crucial takeaways from last night’s VMAs:

The BeyMAs

Justin Timberlake’s 15-minute set was one of last year’s most successful moments, so MTV’s repeating that tradition for this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award winner was a fitting chance for Beyoncé to blow through a 16-minute recalling of her entire visual self-titled album. Making every stop from “Drunk in Love” to “Flawless,” the superstar single-handedly stole the show—and based on the competition, it wasn’t that hard to do.

Pharrell Is Snubbed

Beyoncé took home the Video Vanguard honor in addition to three other awards not shown on TV, but she was one of the very few black artists who did. Drake snagged the trophy for Best Hip-Hop Video but didn’t even show up. Meanwhile, Pharrell—who created a stunning 24-hour video for “Happy”—was unfairly shut out.

MTV Honors Ferguson