The MTV Video Music Awards is a ceremony that stands effortlessly tall when it comes to recognizing talent. From iconic moments such as Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift in defense of Beyonce to the over-the-top jaw-dropping performances, this night entertainers see who's the best of the best. One award category that stands out above the rest is the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award also known as the Video Vanguard Award recognizes artists who are able to wow audiences with their iconic music videos and style. The Video Vanguard Award was first established in 1984 and was renamed in 1991 after Michael Jackson won the award in 1988. Nicki Minaj is the recipient of this year's Video Vanguard Award putting her next to the greats like Missy Elliot, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. There are so many talented artists vying for this award but in its 38 years, the Video Vanguard Award has only gone to four Black men.
Check out these winners and the men we think should be up next to receive the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
Men Who’ve Won the Award
1988 - Michael Jackson
What do we say more about this legend?! Michael Jackson was one of, if not the greatest, entertainer there was and his tragic death hurt many. From standing out tall with his family group The Jackson 5, to independently breaking the mold in pop music with his Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad albums, MJ has blessed our ears and eyes with video greatness. The most iconic video to date in most people’s opinion is the long-form Thriller video and right behind that is Remember the Time.
1997- LL Cool J
Ladies Love Cool James! The 80s was a time to be alive when it came to R&B and Hip-Hop music. LL Cool J was one the greatest rappers during that time who made hit after hit and video after video. Even through the 90s and 2000s, LL Cool J continued to make his mark by showing that he never aimed to stop after dominating the Hip-Hop industry of the 80s with his hits such as I Need Love, Mama Said Knock You Out and I’m Bad.
2006 - Hype Williams
Jay-Z, Beyonce, DMX, Ja Rule, TLC, shall we go on? These are some of the greatest artists that mega video director Hype Williams has on his directing roster. Since 1994, Hype has played a major part in directing some of the most iconic videos that we’ve seen. It was only right that he be awarded this Video Vanguard Award. His mark on video directing will last through generations.
2015 - Kanye West
Ye is one of the greatest rappers alive. It’s no secret that his uniquely different style of video and music is his and only his alone! Since the early 2000s, Ye has made a mark with a plethora of hits and creative music videos to go along with them. Whether is Hip-Hop, or Christian Hip-Hop, Ye is going to make sure that his point is made when you watch his videos. Ye winning this award was nothing short of showing his excellence that has helped make the industry what it is.
Men Who Should Win the Award
16 Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits, 11 Billboard 200 top 10 albums, and so much more! This simply describes the craft and dedication Chris Brown has to the industry. Since 2005, Chris Brown has dominated music videos with his top-tier dance moves and strong male vocal ability. He is the epitome of an artist who just won't stop. Where is his Video Vanguard award?!
Eclectic styles and vibes are what you get with rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer Pharrell. Since the 90s, Pharrell has been helping create hit after hit for himself, The Neptune’s, and many artists we love today. His video history goes a mighty long way because of those countless collaborations and his undeniable creativity.
He is a super producer who has worked with the likes of Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, Justin Timberlake, Drake and more. All of these artists have benefitted from the greatness that is Timbaland! Since his early career days, Timbaland has been breaking barriers and creating interesting and dynamic videos. Being well deserved for this award would be an understatement.
Remind me again why Usher hasn’t been awarded the Video Vanguard award?! The Atlanta powerhouse Usher Raymond has been rocking our ears since the 90s. They don’t call him U-S-H-E-R R-A-Y-M-O-N-D for nothing! From blessing us with hits such as My Way, Nice & Slow, Confessions and so many more to getting the party started with his latest single I Can Freak You with the City Girls, he shows reason after reason why this award is deserving.
Busta Rhymes is one of the most creative genius rappers alive! From his fast-paced lyrics and rhymes to his bangers that blasted through the radio, Busta is a rapper that has made his definite mark on the Hip-Hop industry since the 90s. He had us all in check while watching his uniquely different videos. An award like this would define how influential Busta Rhymes was with his iconic music videos. Who can resist watching the What's It Gonna Be video with Janet Jackson?