The 2019 MTV VMAs Showed Inclusivity but Failed in a Big Way

Last night’s 2019 MTV VMA’s were surprisingly a lot less white, and while we’re here for it — it simply isn’t enough to invite black and Latinx artists without doing the work to rightfully represent them

Photo: Unsplash/pawel szvmanski

Photo: Unsplash/pawel szvmanski

Last night’s 2019 MTV VMA’s were surprisingly a lot less white, and while we’re here for it — it simply isn’t enough to invite black and Latinx artists without doing the work to rightfully represent them. But like we said, we’re here for it. We’re not typically used to seeing Spanish language artists perform or seeing black artists break the stereotypical MTV role. Last night’s MTV VMA’s were definitely not the first time we saw a Latinx or black artist take the stage, but we saw more than ever before.

There was however a typical award show cringe-worthy moment, but we’ll get into that in a minute.

But first, let’s talk about fashion. Amara La Negra looked amazing in a gold Valentino Omar Designs short dress, Cardi B was gorgeous in a red strappy gown, and Rosalía wow’d in a Burberry dress with Riccardo Tisci earrings, as did Camila Cabello. The most incredible look of the night, however, was Lizzo who wore a red strapless Moschino gown that had the word “siren” written all over it. She topped off the look with big Hollywood glam hair and a feather boa.

As far as the men were concerned, Bad Bunny looked straight out of a spy movie in his black head-to-toe suit that featured straps and a mouth cover. His partner-in-crime, J Balvin didn’t wow so much with his lackluster suit, but his green-animal-striped hair was still a #lewk, to say the least.

Now on to the performers, because that’s where it was at.

Boyband CNCO performed “De Cero” during the pre-show, and they had the whole red carpet moving. We were also really feeling Megan Thee stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” and “Cash S**t” performance. Lizzo killed it during her “Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell” set during the actual VMA’s.

Then the performance of the night went down: Missy Elliott, who received the Video Vanguard Award, performed a rousing medley of her greatest hits, including “The Rain,” “Work It,” “Get Ur Freak On” and “Lose Control.” She also brought out dancer, actress, and singer, Alyson Stoner (she was in Missy’s original video in the ’90s!) who danced during “Work It.”

Then Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello performed a sort of awkward version of “Senorita.” We love the song and the fact that they’re together, but their chemistry didn’t really translate on T.V.

After that, Barcelona star Rosalía performed “A Ningun Hombre” and “Aute Cuture,” and Ozuna then joined her for “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi.” Needless to say, her voice was magical. Toward the end of the MTV VMA’s, J Balvin and Bad Bunny came out in huge inflatable costumes (and inflatable set) when they performed “Que Pretendes.” In the end, they just floated up like balloons and yes, it was iconic.

Now comes the worst of it, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco hosted the show and we were all just left wondering, “why?” He was like a cheap version of Andrew Dice Clay (not worth Googling).

The real farce, however, came when French Montana and actress Alison Brie came out to present Best Latin award. Because we all know celebrities have to make some kind of political statement, even when they really shouldn’t, it was no surprise when that happened during the announcement of this award.

Rapper French Montana thought it would be appropriate to discuss the travesty that is the immigration issue in the U.S. while presenting Best Latin award. It’s okay, he is, after all, an immigrant from Morroco. But it was what he would say next that would come out the wrong way. Brie Larson then said the U.S. treatment of immigrants was disgusting, which is true.

They then basically said that category’s nominees were immigrants themselves. Excuse me?Huh. We don’t know about that one.

Let’s see the list of nominees: Anuel AA (Puerto Rican), Karol G (Colombian), Bad Bunny (Puerto Rican), Selena Gomez (American), J Balvin (Colombian), Daddy Yankee (Puerto Rican), Maluma (Colombian), and the winner, Rosalía is not Latin at all, but Spanish. None of them are immigrants to the U.S. They all live in their respective home country as of now and Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, so… we’re speechless.

While we were excited to see so many black and Latinx talent take the center stage last night, the entire Best Latin segment was a total miss. Not all immigrants are Latinx, and just because you’re Latinx, that doesn’t mean you’re an immigrant — a little practice of that speech beforehand could’ve avoided this mistake.

And lastly, don’t get us started on the name of the award category. Why not rename it altogether? Maybe Best Spanish song or anything… because for one, Rosalía is not Latinx. She’s technically Spanish, Hispanic, and European. But definitely not Latinx.

It’s one thing to bring up issues surrounding the current political climate to a huge stage like the MTV VMA’s, when so many people are tuned in, but it’s another to completely miss the mark. Again, representation just for the sake of representation isn’t enough.

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