Barclays Center hosts 2021 MTV Video Music Awards

Video Music Awards
Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, and Justin Bieber.

The biggest stars in music descended on the Barclays Center on Sunday for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, which saw world-renowned artists taking home the iconic silver-astronaut-inspired trophies. 

The award show — which was slated to take place at the arena last year before the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on those plans — kicked off with a mix of in-person performances and virtual appearances, along with dozens of speeches and displays from ionic musical maestros like Camila Cabello and Justin Bieber.

The Video Music Awards Winners

Rap artist Lil Nas X took home the Video of the Year Award for his song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” against tough competition. Ed Sheeran, DJ Khaled and Drake, Cardi B, and the Weeknd were all nominated for the award as well. The video for “Montero” was also given the award for Best Direction and Best Visual Effects. 

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber won the Best Pop award for “Peaches” featuring Daniel Ceasar and Giveon. Bieber was also named the Artist of The Year. Other nominees for this category included Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Megan Thee Stallion. 

It was also a memorable night for one of this year’s biggest breakthrough artists, Olivia Rodrigo. The 18-year-old singer, songwriter, and actress won the Push Performance of the Year and Song of the Year awards for her hit single “Drivers License”. Rodrigo was also named the Best New Artist. Rodrigo dedicated her victory to “every girl writing songs on their bedroom floor”. Giving them a message of encouragement to not give up on their passions. 

Other award winners include

  • Best Collaboration: Doja Cat featuring SZA for “Kiss Me More”
  • Best Hip Hop: Travis Scott featuring Young Thug & M.I.A for “Franchise”
  • Best Rock: John Mayer for “Last Train Home”
  • Best Alternative: Machine Gun Kelly featuring Blackbear for “My Ex’s Best Friend”
  • Best Latin: Billie Eilish featuring Rosalia for “Lo Vas A Olvidar”
  • Best Editing and Best R&B: Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak, Silk Sonic for “Leave the Door Open”
  • Best K-pop: BTS for “Butter”
  • Video For Good: Billie Eilish for “Your Power”
  • Best Cinematography: Beyonce, Blue Ivy, SAINT JHN, and WizKid for “Brown Skin Girl”
  • Best Art Direction: Saweetie featuring Doja Cat for “Best Friend”
  • Best: Choreography: Harry Styles for “Treat People with Kindness”

Red Carpet Scuffle

A red carpet is often a place for stars to get their time under the bright lights, a fashion show before an event, and a place to greet one another in front of the press. But before the VMA’s, the red carpet became a setting for an altercation between former UFC Champion Conor McGregor and rapper Machine Gun Kelly. 

McGregor, who presented the award for the Artist of the Year, was seen throwing a drink at Machine Gun Kelly and his team in videos that surfaced on social media. Per PEOPLE and TMZ sources, the incident was sparked when McGregor asked for a picture with Kelly, but was turned down by the rapper’s security team. The source from PEOPLE says that McGregor dropped his cane and started swinging it in Kelly’s direction.

While videos and pictures show McGregor yelling and charging towards Kelly’s team while being held back by security, the altercation was shut down before events escalated. 

New York Strong

In light of the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks on September 11, MTV did not surpass the opportunity to remember those who lost their lives in that tragedy. Pop artist and New York City native, Alicia Keys delivered a rendition of her song “Empire State of Mind” on a rooftop in Liberty State Park. This location provided a view of lower Manhattan where the twin towers once stood. “We are here to celebrate the magic and strength of this beautiful city”, Keys stated at the beginning of her performance. 

The event showcased the city’s ability to lock arms and stand together through adversity. Withstanding everything from a horrible terrorist attack to a global pandemic. After a year and a half of struggle due to COVID-19, hosting an event such as the VMA’s at the Barclay’s Center is a big step not only for Brooklyn but for New York City as it strives to get back on its feet.