Bad Bunny becomes first non-English-language act to win VMA for artist of the year

A man in sunglasses and a white suit performing on a stage filled with blue fog
Bad Bunny performs at Hard Rock Stadium in Florida earlier this month.
(Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

Bad Bunny made history Sunday at the Video Music Awards, becoming the first non-English-language performer to win the prize for artist of the year.

The Puerto Rican reggaeton sensation was nominated for the honor alongside Drake, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Jack Harlow, Lil Nas X and Lizzo. The actor and vocalist was also in the running for song of the summer (“Me Porto Bonito”); best Latin (“Tití Me Preguntó”); and album of the year (“Un Verano Sin Ti”).

“I have been saying it and I always believed from the beginning that I could become great,” Bad Bunny said in his acceptance speech, which the Associated Press translated from Spanish.

“That I could become one of the biggest stars in the world without having to change my culture, my language, my jargon. I am Benito Antonio Martínez from Puerto Rico to the whole world. Thank you!”


During the MTV telecast, Bad Bunny performed live from Yankee Stadium in New York as part of his World’s Hottest Tour. Other acts in the VMA performance lineup this year included Harlow, Nicki Minaj, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blackpink, Panic! at the Disco, Anitta, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Lizzo.

In the middle of his electrifying performance of “Tití Me Preguntó,” Bad Bunny thrilled his LGBTQ fans by locking lips with both female and male backup dancers. The “Ojitos Lindos” hitmaker’s Yankee Stadium moment marked the first VMA performance broadcast from the iconic venue.

At a moment in his career when the American music industry and Hollywood are fighting for a piece of Bad Bunny, he’s fighting for his identity too.

May 13, 2022

In May, Bad Bunny released his fourth studio album, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” which was the second all-Spanish-language record to debut atop the Billboard 200 chart in the United States, according to MTV. When it came out, the 28-year-old musician’s latest LP was also Spotify’s most-streamed album of 2022.

Bad Bunny wasn’t the only artist breaking barriers Sunday night. Blackpink also became the first female K-pop group to win the award for group of the year, according to Teen Vogue. In its U.S. awards show debut, the quartet performed its new single, “Pink Venom,” during the VMA ceremony on live TV for the first time.

Additionally, Taylor Swift became the first artist to collect three VMAs for video of the year and the only one to win for a video they directed, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Jack Harlow, LL Cool J and Nicki Minaj are hosting the 2022 Video Music Awards from New Jersey. See who’s nominated and who’s performing.

Aug. 28, 2022