Shakira took the spotlight at MTV’s Video Music Awards tonight, where she was honored with this year’s Video Vanguard Award. The Columbian singer is the first South American artist to win the trophy in its four-decade history. Introduced by Wyclef Jean, her career-spanning performance included renditions of “She Wolf” inside a tunnel, “Te Felicito” with backup dancers, a drum circle for “TQG” into “Objection (Tango)” featuring a guitar solo by Shakira herself, and a brief knife dance before “Whenever, Wherever” segued into “Hips Don’t Lie.” She ended the set by crowdsurfing during “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” towards a platform that elevated her into the air.
After accepting the Video Vanguard Awards, Shakira gave a short speech thanking her family, fans, and collaborators. “I want to thank my parents and my kids, Milan and Sasha, who are here. Thank you so much for cheering me up and making me feel like mama can do it all,” she said. “Especially I want to share this award with my fans who always, always support me through thick and thin. Thank you so much for being my army and helping me fight all my battles. Este es para mi gente.”
The Colombian singer was announced as this year’s Video Vanguard honoree at the end of August. Shakira is up for four other VMAs this year: Artist of the Year, plus a double nomination in the Best Latin category for her song “Acróstico” and her joint track “TQG” with Karol G. The latter is also up for Best Collaboration.
Shakira has won four domestic VMAs in all, most recently taking home the Most Earthshattering Collaboration trophy for her 2007 song “Beautiful Liar” with Beyoncé. Shakira has several more Premios MTV Latinoamérica to her name, with a dozen in all.
Follow along with all of Pitchfork’s coverage of the 2023 MTV VMAs.