It’s getting harder and harder to believe Drake and Rihanna aren’t a couple. Last night, Drake presented RiRi with MTV’s Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs and gushed about her in his introductory speech.
“She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old,” Drizzy says to the crowd while looking dapper in a suit. The two embraced and shared a kiss after he ended his speech.
Drake set the tone for the presentation early, purchasing a billboard for Rihanna before the ceremony to congratulate her on the award. The two have worked together multiple times, including on each other’s albums this year with the Toronto rapper sharing some bars for “Work” and the singer lending vocals to “Too Good.”
Rihanna performed multiple times throughout the evening, including a compilation of her dancehall-inspired songs (“Work,” “Rude Boy” and “What’s My Name”), a high-energy showcase of “Needed Me,” “Pour It Up” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” and a sequence of her ballads including “Stay” and “Diamonds.”
Drake won the award for Best Hip Hop Video. See the complete list of winners here.
Watch Drake’s presentation for Rihanna’s Video Vanguard Award below along with a complete transcription via Genius.
The first time, the first time I met Robyn Fenty was 2005. She was shooting a music video at a restaurant called Avacado in Toronto, the song was “Pon de Replay” and the director… and the director of the video was Little X. I was introduced to her as the kid who played background music at the restaurant as people ate their dinner. It’s hard to believe that eleven years later all three of us would come together as visual for her song called “Work.”
Today the world knows Little X as Director X, they know me as Drake and not the kid singing while you order pasta. But eleven years later, they still know Rihanna as the one and only, Rihanna.
Captivating from day one, the iconic being known as Rihanna was already at a place where most artists only dream of going. For them that’s often a peak, but for her that was a starting point, as she has kept ascending to an untouchable level ever since.
When it comes to music, she relentlessly takes over the charts with every release. When it comes to performances, they swarm in masses just to be in her presence… obviously… And when it comes to fashion and style she makes it seem so effortless until you try to do it yourself, which is when it gets a little awkward.
What’s most impressive isn’t the endless list of stats, awards and accomplishments. What’s most impressive is the person. Some artists need to play a character to achieve success, some need to downplay their own natural instincts to blend in. She succeeds by doing something that no one in this industry does, which is being herself.
This woman has surpassed all competition while still being the same girl from Barbados, surrounded by the same friends, speaking with the same accent and never missing a crop over unless it’s to come and perform at OVO Fest. We love the music which can change styles from album to album. We love the videos which change their artistic vision from year to year. But most of all, we love the woman who hasn’t changed since day one.
She’s someone, she’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old. She’s one of my… she’s one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life I’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me. She’s a living, breathing legend in our industry. Ladies and gentlemen, the recipient of the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award for 2016: Rihanna.