Is Jennifer Lopez an iconic music video artist? The answer is almost certainly no, unless by “iconic music video artist” you mean “artist whose music videos aired on television often enough when I was in high school that I vaguely remember them now.” Is she famous enough that people might tune in to watch her perform a career-spanning medley? Probably. Thus, MTV bestowed its Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award on Lopez tonight.
Supported by a slew of backup dancers and cameos from DJ Khaled and Ja Rule, J-Lo performed a career-spanning medley featuring “Waiting For Tonight,” “On The Floor,” “Dance Again,” “Ain’t Your Mama,” “My Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” “I’m Glad,” “All I Have,” “Jenny From The Block,” “I’m Real,” “Ain’t It Funny,” “Dinero,” and more. There were also bits of other artists’ hits such as Drake’s “Nice For What” and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” threaded into the mega-mix. She was only a few subway stops away from her childhood neighborhood in Queens, and fittingly, there was a 6 train on stage.
Shawn Mendes then presented Lopez with her Video Vanguard moon person. “I grew up on MTV, and this is really a tremendous honor for me,” she said. “It has been an incredible journey of dreaming my wildest dreams and then kind of watching them come true. Music, acting, performing, this career has always been kind of an obsession for me. When people have said, ‘You’re doing too much, you can only do one thing,’ I always had it in my mind. I was always the person who was like, ‘Why not?'” There were also a lot of thank-yous: for her parents, her producers, her label heads, her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, and more.