Two Latinx stars made history at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards and it feels like it’s about time for the show’s 38-year history.The 2022 ceremony aired on Sunday, August 28 and marked two big wins for Puerto Rican reggaetonero Bad Bunny (a.k.a Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) and Brazilian singer-songwriter Anitta. Bad Bunny, who just released the record-breaking album Un Verano Sin Ti, is no stranger to making history, from surpassing numerous Spotify records to sweeping award shows to becoming the first Latino to lead a Marvel film. Now 28-year-old made history yet again when he won Artist of the Year, becoming the first non-English language performer and Latin (Spanish-language) artist to ever receive the VMA award.
“I have been saying it and I always believed from the beginning that I could become great,” he said in Spanish during his acceptance speech. “That I could become one of the biggest stars in the world without having to change my culture, my language, my jargon. I am Benito Antonio Martínez from Puerto Rico to the whole world. Thank you!”
He’d also been nominated for a slew of other awards including Song of the Summer for his song “Me Porto Bonito” in collaboration with Chenco Corleone, Album of the Year for his album Un Verano Sin Ti, and Best Latin. He performed “Tití Me Preguntó” via livestream from Yankee Stadium as part of his two-night World’s Hottest Tour in New York the 2022.
Anitta (born Larissa de Macedo Machado) was also nominated for Best Latin, marking the first time in 19 years that a Brazilian artist had been nominated for a VMA award, according to Variety. The Brazilian singer-songwriter, actress, and dancer has been in the business since the 2010s but received international fame in 2013 with the release of her single “Show das Poderosas.” Like El Conejo Malo, she’s also accrued an impressive list of awards and records, including most streamed song in a single-day in 2022 on Spotify. She won in the Best Latin category for “Envolver” marking the first time a Brazilian artist has ever won an award in VMA history, prompting an emotional acceptance speech from the singer.
“I just want to say, for whoever doesn’t know this, tonight, the history, the first time of Brazil here,” she said during the ceremony. “It’s the first time my country has ever been an award like that, and I want to say thank you for my family and for my friends. And tonight I performed here a rhythm that for many years in my country was considered a crime. I was born and raised in the ghetto of Brazil, and for whoever who was born there, we never would think this was possible. So thank you so much.”
These were incredible moments for both artists, as well as the Latinx community at large. To see artists embracing their roots, culture, and languages through music gives their fans much-needed representation and confirmation that we can become successful in any industry and that our voices matter. Let’s hope that even more Latin artists will continue making history and breaking new ground at next year’s ceremony.