No one really cares about the MTV Video Music Awards anymore, but every year the show’s best shot at grabbing people’s attention is its lifetime achievement award, the Video Vanguard Award. This used to honor artists with a vast library of boundary-pushing music videos, but in recent years it has gone to whichever famous person MTV could convince to show up, with Pink and Jennifer Lopez claiming the last two trophies.
This has caused no small amount of consternation among fans of Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, a music legend who has never won the Video Vanguard even though her videos actually were groundbreaking. (We even published a list of her 10 best videos a few years back.) Numerous op-eds have been published, and another fan petition was recently launched. Even J-Lo, last year’s winner, thinks Elliott should win.
Today MTV has confirmed news that should make all of those people very happy. Elliott is indeed this year’s Video Vanguard honoree and will perform a medley during the show. Since 1991 it’s been known as the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, but they’re not calling it that this year for some reason. (UPDATE: Actually, they are keeping Jackson’s name on the award.)
The Video Vanguard is the latest highlight in a recent run of them for Elliott. She became the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. She and past Video Vanguard winner Justin Timberlake received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music. And she’s featured on “Tempo,” one of the best tracks from Lizzo’s hit album Cuz I Love You.
This year’s VMAs airs 8/26 live from the Prudential Center in Newark. Watch some of Elliott’s iconic videos below.
— MTV (@MTV) August 12, 2019