Let us never forget: Spanish-language music in the United States would never have been accepted the way it is today without Shakira.
The Colombian superstar was the recipient of the Video Vanguard Award at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. After being introduced by her former collaborator Wyclef Jean, Shakira took the stage to deliver a medley of her biggest hits, including nostalgic earworms like “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie” and more recent hits like “Te Felicito.” Her two sons, Milan and Sasha, whom she shares with ex-boyfriend soccer player Gerard Piqué, also joined her on the red carpet earlier in the evening, and watched their mom completely conquer the stage with her powerhouse performance.
Shakira’s big moment comes at a personally tumultuous time for the musician, whose recent split from Piqué has dominated tabloid headlines in recent months. Of course, if tonight’s performance—along with the monumental success of “BZRP Music Session #53”—proves anything, it’s that Shakira is having the last laugh.
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For the special night, Shakira wore a glittery, gold fringe ensemble complete with bedazzled nude tights and matching platform booties, and her hair in her signature flowing blonde waves. Following her performance, she came back onstage to officially accept her award and address her fans, who have supported her for decades now, helping her become one of the most prominent Latina recording artists in history. In her speech, she also acknowledged longtime collaborators, her team, and her family for always supporting her vision and direction throughout her career.
“Thank you for making me believe that Mama can do it all,” she said.
Bianca Betancourt is the culture editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, where she covers all things film, TV, music, and more. When she’s not writing, she loves impulsively baking a batch of cookies, re-listening to the same early-2000s pop playlist, and stalking Mariah Carey’s Twitter feed.