Shakira is the first South American artist to receive MTV’s Video Vanguard Award.
Wyclef Jean presented the four-time VMA winner with the honor Tuesday night, calling her a “musical genius.”
As she took the stage, she began by thanking MTV “for being such a big part of my career since I was just 18 years old.”
She continued: “I would like to thank people who have played a key role in my visual story. Friends, very dear friends and creative partners, without whom I simply cannot live.” She also showed appreciation for her label, “for always supporting my vision” and for the “wonderful women who work with me,” who “me always helping to overcome all my challenges despite having so many responsibilities.”
Shakira continued to express her love for her parents and children because they “cheered me up and made me feel like mom can do anything.” She concluded by saying that she “wants to share this award with my fans” who “always support me through thick and thin.” Thank you for being my army and helping me fight all my battles.”
Before accepting the award, the singer took the stage for an epic 10-minute performance with a medley of her biggest hits, including “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie” and more. During the set, not only did the audience dance along on their feet, but Shakira also surfed in the crowd at one point.
This year, Shakira received four nominations at the VMAs, including Best Collaboration, Best Latin (two nominations in the category) and Female Artist of the Year. In 2000, she took home her first Moon Person trophy for the International Audience Award.
Throughout her career, Shakira has repeatedly broken music records. This year alone, she became the first singer to debut a Spanish-language track in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with “BZRP Music Sessions Vol.” 53″ and then a month later with “TQG”. She also made history by reaching the top 3 on the Billboard Latin Pop Airplay chart.
“Shakira is a true global force who continues to inspire and influence the masses with her unique musical prowess. She is a trailblazer for women around the world and one of the first artists to lead the globalization of Latin music,” Bruce Gillmer, president of music, music talent, programming and events at Paramount and chief content officer for music at Paramount+, previously said . “Her tremendous impact on the music landscape will be long-lasting as she continues to create and entertain at the highest levels.”
Previous Video Vanguard Award winners include Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott. David Bowie, The Beatles and director Richard Lester shared the honor at the first VMAs in 1984.
The 2023 VMAs aired live from the Prudential Center in New Jersey on Tuesday. The full list of winners can be found here.