Nicki Minaj is cementing her legacy. Just last month, the “Itty Bitty Piggy” rapper announced a comprehensive six-part “raw” docuseries that charts her career beginnings and her current activities. And now, Minaj is set to receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. She is no stranger to the VMAs: The rapper is a five-time winner and 17-time nominee and took home her first moon-person in 2011 for Best Hip-Hop Video. “Nicki has broken barriers for women in hip-hop with her versatility and creative artistry,” said Bruce Gillmer, the president of music, music talent, programming and events at Paramount and chief content officer of music at Paramount+. “She has shifted the music industry and cemented her status as a global superstar with her crossover appeal, genre-defying style and continuing to be unapologetically ‘Nicki.’” Previous Vanguard Award winners include Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, and LL Cool J. For the past two years, the prize was replaced with the Tricon Award, given to Lady Gaga in 2020, and the Global Icon Award, awarded to the Foo Fighters last year.
The VMAs have also confirmed that the rapper will perform at the ceremony for the first time since 2018. She made her VMAs debut in a 2012 surprise verse on Alicia Keys’s “Girl on Fire” and returned in 2014 with three separate stages: her hit that went platinum in my freshman dorm, “Anaconda”; “She Came II Give It II U,” with Usher; and the Ariana Grande and Jessie J collab, “Bang Bang.” Since her 2012 debut, she has performed at the ceremony a total of six times, though her husband is unlikely to attend due to legal troubles. Um, anyway, the news comes days before the release of Minaj’s new single, “Super Freaky Girl,” due out on Friday, August 12.