Jennifer Lopez championed the merits of hard work in her speech for the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. The singer thanked her family, video directors and career mentors throughout the lengthy segment, emphasizing how the award represents a marking point in her varied career.
“I grew up on MTV,” she said. “And this is really, like, a tremendous honor for me. It has been an incredible journey of dreaming my wildest dreams and then kinda watching them come true. Music, acting, performing – this career has always been kind of an obsession for me. When people have said, ‘You’re doing too much – you can only do one thing’ … I always had it in my mind. I was always a person who was like, ‘Why not?’ I kinda had to forge my own path and make my own rules. I was obsessed like that.”
Earlier in the ceremony, Lopez performed a medley of her most famous singles, including “On the Floor,” “Dance Again,” “All I Have,” “Waiting for Tonight” and “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” She danced with several different backing ensembles — one all male, one all female — and brought out a pair of high-powered collaborators to give her show extra oomph. Ja Rule joined her for well-received performances of “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny,” while DJ Khaled popped up in the crowd to help introduce the Lopez classic “Jenny From the Block” and generally did his best to energize a lackluster crowd with shouts like, “standing ovation!” Lopez ended her medley by performing “Dinero,” a collaboration with DJ Khaled and Cardi B, who won Best New Artist at the VMAs.
Lopez earned two VMA nominations, Best Collaboration and Best Latin, for her “Dinero” video featuring Cardi B and DJ Khaled. That track marks Lopez’s fourth single of 2018, following the Skrillex collaboration “Us” and Spanish-language cuts “El Anillo” and “Se Acabó el Amor.”
Cardi B leads all artists with 10 total nominations at the 2018 VMAs, including Best New Artist, Best Collaboration (Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” remix) and Video, Song and Artist of the Year.