History was made again in Inglewood last weekend, as the biggest names in music donned the red carpet at the Fabulous Forum. The 2014 "MTV Video Music Awards" were held in Inglewood for the first time.
MTV, a unit of Viacom Inc., hosted an epic night of music with unforgettable performances, unpredictable moments and heartfelt messages. The show was broadcast worldwide both on and offline, lighting up televisions, smartphones, and social media sites worldwide. Adding to the Forum’s growing roster of international events, the VMAs join the historic Eagle’s tour which reopened the Forum in January, and Dalai Lama who spoke there in February.
“In my time in Inglewood, there have been 5 events that generated international attention; the 1984 Olympics where basketball was held at the Forum, the NBA finals in the 1980's, the travel of the Space Shuttle Endeavour which was staged adjacent to the Forum, the visit of the Dali Lama at the Forum, and this Sunday the MTV VMA's also at the Fabulous Forum. Three of the five events have occurred in the last 3 years. The VMA's were the exclamation point,” Inglewood Mayor James Butts said.
Sunday was definitely “Ms. B’s” night. Beyoncé welcomed MTV and the audience to her world as she built on her VMA legacy with a medley of songs from her visual album "Beyoncé." Always the trailblazer, Beyoncé celebrated where she is as an artist today and pulled back the curtain on her family life with poignant images from home movies showing her as a wife and mother. The backdrop throughout her performance reinforced messages of female empowerment and sampled a powerful quote and call to feminism from the prominent Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Her near-20 minute performance broke that of Justin Timberlake's who held the record of the longest VMA performance ever in 2013. Husband, rapper Jay-Z and baby girl Blue Ivy joined Beyoncé on stage to present her with the "Michael Jackson Video Vanguard" Award. The megastar also took home the most awards of the evening, including "Best Collaboration" for "Drunk in Love" and "Best Video With a Message" for "Pretty Hurts."
While some brought the house down with their musical talent, others moved the audience with their cries for social justice. Miley Cyrus sent a former homeless youth to the podium to accept her award for “Video of the Year." She teared up as he made a plea to help the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the U.S., and invited Cyrus fans to her Facebook page to help end youth homelessness.
Before introducing "Best Hip-Hop Video," Common asked the VMA audience for a moment of silence to mark the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, with some members of the in-house audience responding by spontaneously raising their hands overhead.
The show opened with Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, performing a medley of their own hits, respectively “Break Free,” “Anaconda” and “Bang Bang.” All eyes were on Nicki when she returned with a wardrobe malfunction that left her clutching her dress.
Iggy Azalea and her troop of ninja ballerinas took over the stage with choreographed precision. Joined by Rita Ora, the duo unleashed a dark and futuristic performance of their hit, "Black Widow."
Performances by Usher and British sensation Sam Smith, whose soulful hit “Stay With Me” is sweeping the record charts, were big hits with the ladies.
“This show was the best awards presentation I have seen,” said entertainment reporter Dee Dee Brown.
“The sound system was superb. The 100 million dollars that Madison Square Garden spent on renovating The Forum has made it the premier venue for musical concerts and awards shows. I was in awe of the lighting and theatrical presentation, it was state of the art!”
The artists weren’t the only ones made to feel special. Madison Square Garden rolled out the red carpet (literally) for the entire Inglewood High School Girl’s Varsity Basketball Team, giving them complimentary tickets. Earlier in the month, Inglewood residents were given an opportunity to purchase tickets at a special price of $80.
Mayor Butts said his shining moment was having an event of such magnitude held in his city, and seeing people from Inglewood attending and working on the venue floor. He was also pleased about the traffic and security plan devised by Police Chief Mark Fronterotta, which he said was carried out flawlessly.
“Inbound and outbound traffic from the Forum was handled in an outstanding matter, particularly given the thousands of walk up spectators that did not have tickets for the event. Inglewood shined before the world this past Sunday.”
Throughout the program, MTV acknowledged Inglewood as home city to the worldwide broadcast. Rapper Snoop Dogg gave shout-outs to the city, saying, “Watch out LA, Inglewood is in the house!”