Selena Gomez vows she’ll ‘never be a meme again’ after her stinkface reaction to Chris Brown at VMAs

Selena Gomez arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards in a red gown
After going viral for her cringing reaction to Chris Brown’s MTV VMAs nomination, Selena Gomez says she’d “rather sit still than be dragged for being myself.”
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Sorry, Selena Gomez, you don’t choose to be a meme; a meme chooses you.

The actor and singer became the subject of viral memes Tuesday night during the MTV Video Music Awards, prompting her to assert later that evening that she wasn’t about that life.

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“I will never be a meme again,” the “Only Murders in the Building” star wrote on Instagram stories after her appearance at the awards show. “I’d rather sit still than be dragged for being myself. Much love.”

She did indeed sit still, but her face did not.

The “Single Soon” singer had a cringe-worthy reaction to Chris Brown’s name being called when the R&B nominees were recapped during the New Jersey-set ceremony — briefly pouting her lips and scrunching her nose as the nominees were listed. (Brown fell from grace after infamously assaulting ex-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 and has been accused of assault and misconduct repeatedly over the years. The embattled singer was recognized by MTV this year for his feature on Chlöe Bailey’s “How Does It Feel,” but lost to SZA’s “Shirt.”)


Many saw the reaction as a slight against Brown, while others praised Gomez for being herself.

A representative for Gomez did not immediately respond Wednesday to The Times’ request for further comment.

Her disapproving stink face wasn’t her only reaction that went viral. Cameras caught the “Selena and Chef” star looking bored during the show and, at one point, covering her ear during Olivia Rodrigo’s chaotic, “Vampire”-video inspired set. Others highlighted her winning smile when she and Rema, whom she was seated next to, were awarded the prize for Afrobeats video on their summer collab “Calm Down” and hit the stage to accept the win.

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Earlier in the evening, the Rare Beauty co-founder was self-deprecating when she posted a photo embracing her pal Taylor Swift, whose reaction to the ‘NSYNC reunion at the show launched its own relatable meme-dom.

“She looks stunning I look constipated Typical,” Gomez captioned the IG story, which featured her red Oscar de la Renta gown.

Gomez’s never-meme post comes after she was digitally immortalized in a series of memes over the last few weeks. Last month, a photo of her wrapped up in a cozy blanket took the Internet by storm.


Ever the child of the digital age, Gomez embraced the blanket photo by posting two of her favorite cobija parodies on her IG stories: “horror movie characters sitting in the back of an ambulance after almost dying,” said one. Another, which featured a monochromatic wash on the image, said: “my mom just sent me this old picture of my abuela from when she was still living in mexico, this was taken during a year without rain.”

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And earlier this month, Gomez’s jaw-dropping reaction to Lionel Messi playing against L.A. Football Club also made the rounds, and she acknowledged it as a whole “mood.”