Bow down: Beyonce was the reigning queen of Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards.
The diva closed the awards show with an epic nearly 20-minute performance. Tears streamed down her face as she was joined onstage by her beaming husband and daughter, amid the numerous rumors surrounding her marriage.
Beyonce sang and danced in a metallic leotard while Blue Ivy and Jay Z watched from their seats as the diva declared: “MTV, welcome to my world.”
As Beyonce accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award, the VMA’s version of a lifetime achievement award, at The Forum in Inglewood, California, she kissed her daughter and husband Jay Z, who called her the “greatest living entertainer.” The duo won best collaboration for the hit “Drunk In Love.”
“I have nothing to say but I am filled with so much gratitude,” she told the cheering crowd as they chanted her name repeatedly.
Her performance easily outdid her competition throughout the night, though Beyonce lost video of the year, which instead went to Miley Cyrus who let a homeless man accept her award.
The two-hour show was tamer than past VMAs: the most shocking moment was Nicki Minaj’s rump-shaking during her performance of “Anaconda” in the show’s first minutes and her wardrobe malfunction when she joined Ariana Grande and Jessie J for “Bang, Bang.”
“It felt amazing to open the show, and we ran out of time getting the dress zipped up,” Minaj said backstage.
The night also featured a serious social message: Rapper-actor Common held a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer on Aug. 9, before he presented the award for best hip-hop video.
“Hip-hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change, from Melle Mel to Public Enemy to Kendrick Lamar,” Common said. “Hip-hop has always been presented a voice for the revolution.”
Later, a 15-second spot aired alluding to the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, urging viewers to take action to eliminate bias.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” a quote by author James Baldwin read on the screen.
Lorde won best rock video for “Royals” and Ed Sheeran won best male video, beating out Pharrell, Eminem, John Legend and Sam Smith, who was a show highlight with his smoldering performance of his hit “Stay With Me.”
Iggy Azalea and Ora appeared onstage as spider women when they performed their hit “Black Widow,” as Swift, Lorde and Charli XCX danced and sang along.