When Miley Cyrus announced that she would be hosting this year's Video Music Awards on MTV, the provocative singer promised it would be the craziest one ever. But I don't think Miley imagined that the most memorable moment of the entire evening would involve her being brutally called out by another artist in front of millions of viewers.
That artist was none other than Nicki Minaj, who made headlines recently for criticizing the VMA nominations that excluded her video "Anaconda" for the top prize and also foregrounded white, slim artists. You may remember Taylor Swift throwing her opinion in on that scuffle, but those two artists quickly managed to mop up any bad blood like friendly adults.
The same cannot be said for Miley and Nicki, and when the rapper took to the stage to accept her award for Best Hip-Hop Video, the rest needs to be seen to be believed.
Nicki had some strong words for Miley in this tense exchange
Yikes. Public shaming is always rough to watch, but there seems to be some genuine anger overflowing in this one.
The "press" that Nicki references was an interview Miley recently did with The New York Times. They asked her opinion on Nicki's issues with the nominations, and though Miley tried to deflect all the blame to the media at the VMAs, she clearly had some pointed words for the outspoken rapper:
What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite. I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war. It became Nicki Minaj and Taylor in a fight, so now the story isn’t even on what you wanted it to be about. Now you’ve just given E! News “Catfight! Taylor and Nicki Go at It.”
In arguably her most egregious attack on how Nicki was "making it all about her," Miley declares that Nicki didn't confront the issue of race the right way:
If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself. Say: “This is the reason why I think it’s important to be nominated. There’s girls everywhere with this body type."
Clearly, as evidenced by the very public takedown, Nicki wasn't having it. Because of all the buzz it immediately generated, some viewers questioned the authenticity of this excruciating moment. However, to all those wondering if it was staged, take a look at Miley's reaction as she hears the biting words.
Miley's jaw hitting the floor speaks volumes
You can see that "What's good, Miley?" hitting the host like a wrecking ball. Honestly, I think that's the most genuine moment from the VMA's since Diana Ross jiggled Lil Kim's bare breast.
Even if it was staged, the unbearable tension still felt palpable.
Immediately after taking down Miley, Nicki Minaj tweeted her delight to the masses
Later in the night, Nicki came out to perform with Taylor Swift, proving that this pair really buried the hatchet. Later, Taylor tweeted Nicki with a proclamation of love.
Considering this whole scandal started when Taylor butt her head in, I like to imagine that she realizes that this could have been her if she hadn't apologized. She took the high road and then watched Miley who learned what happens when you insult Nicki Minaj to the press.
In the end, no matter if you're Team Miley or Team Nicki or even if you think this was entirely scripted, you've gotta admit this was one of the most memorable VMAs moments to occur in a long time.