MTV unveils Keke Palmer as host of this year’s virtual VMAs

Keke Palmer at the 2019 VMAs
Singer-actress Keke Palmer arrives at the 2019 Video Music Awards.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Actress, recording artist and TV star Keke Palmer is officially hosting the 2020 Video Music Awards later this month.

MTV announced Thursday the “Hustlers” performer will emcee this year’s virtual ceremony, which will feature performances from BTS, Doja Cat and J Balvin — plus some new awards specifically recognizing live sets and music videos filmed at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re thrilled to have the multitalented Keke Palmer as this year’s ‘VMAs’ host,” said Bruce Gillmer, president of music, music talent, programming and events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, in a statement. “Keke is an energetic force and a quadruple threat with unmatched comedic wit who will make this year’s show truly unforgettable.”


MTV also released a nostalgic promo video for which Palmer reprised her beloved Nickelodeon character from “True Jackson, VP” and recorded a fresh, VMA-inspired version of the tween sitcom’s theme song.

“From my head to my toes / I’m the host and you know / Bring the music / It’s just what I do,” she sings in the clip.

Pop phenoms Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga top the 2020 VMA nominees with nine nods each — including a video-of-the-year nomination for their hit dance collaboration, “Rain on Me.” Other nominees across 15 categories include Billie Eilish, the Weeknd, Taylor Swift, Chloe x Halle, Drake, Dua Lipa, J Balvin, Justin Bieber, Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, BTS, Harry Styles, Roddy Ricch, Post Malone, Future, Karol G and Doja Cat.

The host reveal comes hours after Disney announced Thursday that Palmer will voice a new character for its upcoming Disney+ reboot, “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” based on the original Disney Channel series.

“There’s a new girl coming to town!” Palmer wrote in an Instagram post introducing her character. “Prepare to fall in love with 14-year-old activist Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins, voiced by ME!!!”


The 2020 VMAs will air Aug. 30 on MTV.