MTV’s annual celebration of pop culture, music and ill-advised fashion, the Video Music Awards, were held in Brooklyn, last night. Anytime, you stock a room full of musicians, athletes and celebrities, pump them full of alcohol and give them a platform to live out their worst ideas, you get an environment ripe for embarrassing failure. If you are a fan of schadenfreude, the VMA’s will almost assuredly never fail you.
In the realm of awkward celebrity moments, hip-hop did not disappoint last night, either. Whether, it was a puffy-shirted A$AP Rocky realizing who Jason Collins was, the cut in Drake’s caesar or Miley Cyrus’ continued campaign to appropriate twerkin’ for white girls everywhere, hip-hop was well represented when it came to the night’s many, many awkward moments.
XXL does not want you to forget these moments of bad decisions and public shame so we have compiled a list of the night’s most awkward moments. Read on.
A$AP Rocky Suddenly Realizes Who Jason Collins Is
During the NBA Playoffs this spring, veteran NBA player Jason Collins announced to the world that he was a gay man becoming the first active athlete in any of the major sports to come out in public. It was a landmark moment for civil rights in America as a prominent athlete came out in a profession as traditionally heteronormative for the first time.
Last night, Jason Collins and A$AP Rocky appeared on stage together to introduce a performance of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love.” During the intro, Collins delivers a heartfelt speech about his mother’s fears about his coming out and Rocky becomes noticeably uncomfortable during the speech as if he suddenly remembers what Jason Collins is famous for.
What follows is a minute plus of gif-able fun as Rocky sweats and shifts awkwardly trying his best to keep his cool. Aftewards, Rocky pauses for a moment before shouting out crew member, A$AP Ferg’s new album. Bonus points have to be awarded to Rocky to for stealing Jerry Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt from the “Must See TV” vault at NBC.
Rihanna Is Not Impressed With Drake’s Performance
Although Drake’s performance was more bland than awkward in and of itself, there was moment that particularly stood out for being painfully awkward. While Drake was delivering a performance of “Started From The Bottom” off his upcoming album, the camera cut to a bored, shifting Rihanna who could not have been less enthused about Drake’s performance. For a man who reportedly was involved in a brawl in a nightclub that started in a fight over her, it had to hurt to watch her care so little about him.
Kanye’s Performance Goes Without A Hitch
Kanye’s reputation for uncomfortable moments at award shows is storied. In perhaps the most documented moment in his career, Kanye bum-rushed Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech in protest during the 2009 VMA Awards to great infamy.
The only awkward aspect of Kanye’s appearance during the awards was how conflict-free it was. Kanye delivered a beautiful performance of “Blood On the Leaves” that was easily one of the best performances of the night.
Somewhere In America, Miley Cyrus Won’t Stop Twerking
Miley Cyrus cultural assault on urban appropriation continued last night as the former Disney star delivered the most, unfortunately gif-able performance of the evening. Cyrus showed up on stage in a koala-themed onesie before stripping down during to flesh-themed undies and twerking up a storm. The performance was a true trainwreck in the classic sense of the word as the audience reaction seemed to be a mix of confusion, dismay and horror in a cocktail of embarrassment.
Also, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar Perfomed With Miley For Some Reason, Too…
If you were expecting a Kendrick Lamar performance in Brooklyn after his New York-conquering verse on Big Sean’s “Control” last month, you would have been left sadly disappointed last night. Kendrick Lamar showed up, of course, but only during Miley’s historically bad performance. Kendrick was brought out along with 2 Chainz and Robin Thick (in a Beetlejuice suit) to backup Miley while she slowly inducted herself into the “Trainwreck Child Stars Hall Of Fame.”
Jay Z Is Not Available Tonight So Here’s Katy Perry, Instead
For a show that was being held at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, an arena that Jay Z famously helped erect, Hov’s absence last night spoke volumes about the evening. As a figure as synonymous with Brooklyn as Jackie Robinson and The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z’s absence at the event was more than a little conspicuous.
Instead of Jay Z closing out the show under the Brooklyn Bridge, we got Katy Perry who awkwardly shouted out “Brooklyn” and danced around in a boxer’s outfit. It spoke to the uncomfortable reality of Brooklyn’s on-going reality of urban gentrification and felt more than a little weird. In what should have been the show’s crowning moment, we got Katy Perry imitating Rocky instead of Jay Z performing “Where I’m From.”