Shakira was the highlight of the 2023 MTV VMAs

Shakira performs at the MTV Video Music Awards
Shakira performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday.
(Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for MTV)

Latinos had quite the showing at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.

Tuesday’s broadcast featured performances from Karol G, Peso Pluma, Stephen Sanchez, Demi Lovato and Cardi B, who was joined on stage by Megan Thee Stallion for a live rendition of the duo’s latest single “Bongos.”

The night, however, belonged to Shakira.

Shakira is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards. The award, also known as MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, is presented to an artist for their ‘outstanding contributions and profound impact on music video and popular culture.’

Aug. 29, 2023

The 46-year-old Colombian pop star was this year’s recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, becoming the second Latina to be given the lifetime achievement honor, after Jennifer Lopez in 2018.

“Latin music would not be the global force that it is without Shakira,” said rapper Wyclef Jean of his “Hips Don’t Lie” collaborator moments before she hit the stage to perform a medley of her biggest hits. Jean added that Shakira had redefined the wide-ranging genre “with her one-of-a- kind voice, passionate pop songs and trademark choreography.”

Those traits were on display during a 10-minute set that sampled much of her post-millennium catalog and kept those in attendance at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., dancing in their seats.


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Sept. 13, 2023

Shakira kicked it off with 2009’s “She Wolf” before transitioning into her collaborations with Latin stars Rauw Alejandro (“Te Felicito”) and Karol G (“TQG”). The pop singer followed her recent hits with “Objection (Tango),” a nod to her performance at the 2002 VMAs, her first ever at the awards ceremony.

The medley even gave some love to her pre-crossover era — she briefly bellydanced through the opening of “Ojos Así” before segueing into “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie.”

For the record:

11:10 a.m. Sept. 13, 2023An earlier version of this article referred to Shakira’s breakup with ex-husband Gerard Piqué. The couple were not married.

Shakira closed off her well-choreographed set by crowdsurfing to “Bzrp Music Sessions #53,” the epic diss track recorded with Argentine producer Bizarrap in the wake of her acrimonious breakup with Gerard Piqué.

Following the dazzling performance, Jean presented Shakira with the VMA Vanguard moon man statue.

“I want to share this with my fans, who always support me through thick and thin. Thank you so much for being my army, and helping me fight all my battles,” Shakira said in her acceptance speech. ““Esto es para ustedes mi gente, mi gente latinoamericana, dentro y fuera de este país. Gracias por inspirarme y por inyectarme tanta fuerza y tantas ganas de seguir adelante, los quiero muchísimo.”’


It wouldn’t be the only piece of hardware she would take home that night.

In the second half of the ceremony, Karol G and Shakira won the best collaboration award for “TQG.” Standing in front of a roaring crowd, the Vanguard recipient shouted out her native Colombia before ceding the mic to her compatriot.

“Si colaborar con la legendaria Shakira había sido impresionante, tener un premio con ella es otra cosa de otro planeta,” gushed Karol G.