Nicki Minaj Calls Miley Out, Kanye West Announces Presidential Run and More MTV VMAs Revelations

You never know what’s going to happen at the MTV Video Music Awards. Maybe Brittney Spears is going to make out with Madonna. Maybe Miley Cyrus is going to twerk on a teddy bear. Or maybe — just maybe — Kanye West is going to announce that he’s running for President of the United States.

It seemed like the theme of tonight’s Moonman Awards was going to be beef-squashing, what with Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj performing together to open the show and Taylor Swift presenting Kanye West with the Video Vanguard Award. But no! The theme of tonight’s Moonman Awards was: Kanye West is running for President of the United States.

How it happened was that Kanye took the stage and accepted the Vanguard Award from T-Swizzle. The audience cheered for him a long, long time while he stood there in silence and Taylor Swift retired to the audience to inch closer and closer to Kim Kardashian. Then, Kanye gave a rambling speech — for real, it lasted for 15 uninterrupted minutes — about how he doesn’t understand awards shows, and brands are messing up our kids, and he’s still not sure how he should have handled Taylor Swift winning the VMA Beyonce should have won, and Justin Timberlake cried when he lost at the Grammys, and yeah he smoked a little weed tonight to take the edge off, and also about how MTV courts controversy at these awards shows and then exploits them for profits. He pondered what celebrity means in 2015, and what it can do.

Then, before dropping the literal mic and walking off the stage, he said:

If my grandfather was here right now, he would not let me back down. I don’t know what I’m going to lose after this. It don’t matter, though, because it ain’t about me, bro! It’s about ideas! And … in 2020, I have decided to run for president.

The other major moment of the night came when Nicki Minaj called out Miley Cyrus for putting her on blast in a New York Times profile last week. In the interview, the reporter asked Miley about the frustration Nicki Minaj expressed on Twitter when “Anaconda” was inexplicably snubbed by MTV in the Best Video category. The video broke all kinds of viewing records and became a pop culture sensation, after all. Miley responded:

If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement. But I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it. And it’s not anger like, “Guys, I’m frustrated about some things that are a bigger issue.” You made it about you. Not to sound like a bitch, but that’s like, “Eh, I didn’t get my VMA.”

When the NYT reporter pressed Miley, noting the Minaj’s commentary was actually about a larger, racial issue, Miley inexcusably responded, “If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself.”

So tonight, when accepting her award for Best Hip-Hop Video, Minaj thanked the people who inspired and supported her, especially her pastor; then: “And now back to this bitch who had a lot to say about me in the press. Miley, what’s good?”

Miley responded: “We’re all in this industry. We all do interviews. We all know how they manipulate. Nicki, congratulations.”

According to an Entertainment Weekly source, the whole thing wasn’t staged by a WWE choreographer like I thought when I first saw it (especially because it followed up an announcer promising “more girl beef” before the commercial break). Obviously, the last person on earth who should be telling anyone how to talk about race is Miley Cyrus, who is infamous for profiting off of cultural appropriation and even called Snoop Dogg her “mammy” tonight.

The hot takes will be thick on the ground tomorrow morning.

The Good Times

+ Amber Rose’s feminist red carpet fashion. She and several friends wore bodysuits covered in sexist slurs.

+ Big Sean, Kanye West and John Legend accepted the award for Song With a Social Message for “One Man Can Change the World.” Big Sean’s speech was about his trailblazing grandma who was one of the first black female captains in World War II.

+ Nicki and Taylor, for real.

+ I didn’t know who Tori Kelly was before tonight, but holy crap! Her performance was raw and real and kind of breathtaking!

The Weird Times

+ Justin Bieber was moved to tears by the performance of Justin Bieber.

+ Demi Lovato sang “Cool For The Summer” and kind of tried to get something sapphic going with Iggy Azalea who performed with her for some reason, but it never got started and Demi was ultimately carried away by the audience inside a giant inflatable pool.

+ Miley Cyrus dropped a new (free) album at the end of the broadcast after firing off a crotch cannon and dancing with an entire troupe of RuPaul’s Drag Race backups in a Lisa Frank-themed ball-tripping performance about actually tripping balls.

The Winners of the Moonmen

Best Rock Video: Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”

Best Pop Video: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

Best Male Video: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

Best Hip-Hop Video: Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”

Best Female Video: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

Best Video With a Social Message: Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”

Artist to Watch: Fetty Wap

Video of the Year: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. I can’t wait for the white woman tears on this thread and every other white feminist site about how horrible Nicki Minaj is to call Cyrus a bitch. But personally Nicki Minaj was absolutely right and I’m so tired of having to bend over white women and their feelings, I’m gleeful at the fact that Cryus got what she deserved. And was too pussy to say anything back. Kinda of how when a white queer says something racist on this site, gets called out for it and bursts into tears/flounces at the audacity of being called a racist and quickly gets support/hugs for being bullied by mean WoC. God bless Nicki and I guess all those white queers who saw Miley as the second coming of Jesus because she said some shit about gay homeless kids (only white ones though lbr) and tongued a Victoria Secrets model will have to reconsider their viewpoint. Miley Cyrus has been a racist talentless hack for a long time. It took a black woman to expose her for the repugnant individual she is and of course Nicki will be deemed the bully in this matter. But who cares? Nicki will still be a star in 5 years while Cryus will be on Celebrity Big Brother UK.

    • I’m glad you managed to get all that out of your system. It’s good to rant and rave every once in a while and get all that negativity out of your system.
      It was such a crappy move by Nicki to be calling another woman a bitch. It made me wince. Her entire persona is so aggressive and unpleasant.
      Calling someone a pussy in a negative sense is totally mysogynistic, by the way.

      • WOW iva did exactly what J.V. mentioned. white feminist tears further stereotyping the angry black women stereotype. what was “crappy” was miley telling nicki she had no right to be mad kinda like… um. you’re doing… right now.

      • Iva, I just… can’t. Fuck. Please read J.V.’s comment again. Think about it seriously, please.

        Black women are frequently negatively stereotyped as being aggressive and hypermasculine – it buys into very very racist assumptions about blackness being “savage” and less than human, and bars them from being traditionally femme in any way. Accusing black women of being ‘angry’ also dismisses the political urgency in what they have to say, it derails the conversation away from what’s important. It’s respectability politics. It’s bullshit.

        Have you ever listened to Nicki Minaj? Followed her on twitter, maybe? She’s full of love for her fans, she’s very down-to-earth, she’s a great human being. She also makes diss tracks, raps incredibly well, and gets angry about misogyny and racism in the music industry. Calling her persona ‘aggressive and unpleasant’ not only plays into stereotypes, not only derails to conversation, but you ignore so much of who Nicki Minaj is, you take away all the great and positive qualities of what politically minded black women are, when pare them down to ‘angry black women’. It’s so politically disabling.

        Your comment just boils down to ‘thank you for venting your anger, but I can’t stand it when Nicki Minaj does the same, how unpleasant, being angry at systematic racism.’

        Stop it.

        • I agree with a lot of what you are saying but holding Nicki up as this great role model and human being is just false. This is the woman who told fans to fuck off and die and has called people’s mothers whores when they have insulted her on Twitter. Did you miss that? I have serious issues with Miley but Nicki is no angel.

          • You don’t need to be a great role model to criticise racist idiots. And I guess Cryus is a great role model to you because she’s white? That’s all you need to be right? I couldn’t give a shit about her role model status, if you are that terrible a parent that your children look to pop stars to raise them then you shouldn’t be a parent. Nicki doesn’t owe anyone anything. Cyrus does owe it to not be racist but I understand that for white women that’s an incredibly difficult concept to understand so I don’t expect you to get it.

          • I just want to quickly point out the irony of using the phrase “is no angel” in order to discredit a black woman calling out racism.

            “is no angel” was the exact same phrase the NYT used to describe Mike Brown in his obituary, pulling out details from his past to wash over the fact that he had been murdered by the police because he was black.

            I’m happy to admit Nicki Minaj has flaws, and I can discuss this further, but I don’t think this is the place to do that. I think focusing on whether Nicki has been nasty in the past derails the conversation away from its original point – that Nicki Minaj was (correctly) calling out Miley Cyrus for callously dismissing Nicki’s criticisms about racism in the music industry. Whether Nicki Minaj is a nice or nasty person doesn’t ultimately figure into whether she’s right or not about that.

            We’re better than respectability politics and derailing conversations about race.

      • It’s also racist to appropriate dreads, call someone a Mammy, make ‘Asian’ eyes, call a black woman angry for talking about race. Go and cape for your white supremacist queen somewhere else because truly I don’t give a shit. It’s funny how when white women call WoC names you wouldn’t find it unpleasant but God forbid the Aryan angel get called out on her shit. Go and cry somewhere else.

        • I never said Miley is a role model. I don’t give people more leeway because they are white. I was just pointing out that Nicki is not a great person after someone said she is. That’s all. Me using the phrase no Angel has absolutely nothing to do with Mike Brown. Why would you even equate that. You don’t know me. I am disgusted by any sort of injustice, racism included. Miley’s cultural appropriation and her trying to school Nicki on race issues is entirely wrong and ofocurse Nicki has every right to be angry about that. Perhaps I was derailing the conversation and it wasn’t my intention and I apologise for that but please don’t try to suggest I am in any way racist.

          • Maybe we wouldn’t if you didn’t come in here to cry about what a terrible person Nicki is. Her role model status wasn’t up for discussion here. Cyrus’s racism was so maybe next time you rush in criticise the victim of racism think about whether it can be seen as a defence of racists.

    • this, thank you! Miley Cyrus is disgustingly racist (look at her with her fake dreads, makes me sick) and needs to take a thousand seats. good on nicki for calling her out.

      • I wasn’t crying about anything. I also apologised for changing the conversation. It was thoughtless but not racist.

  2. I know she’s one of us and all and she’s had it weird since she grew up on an oppressive tv show with terrible parents but…
    Miley Cyrus can go to hell. Sit the hell down and shut up. She’s the kind of privilege soaked surface activist who just drags everyone down. The fact that she showed up in a DREADLOCKS wig is enough to have me shaking my head because apparently the heat she got for using black women as props didn’t make it through the weed fog- but for her to not just take her beating like a big girl and to fire back at Nikki and CONTINUE to say it’s just about an award? Fuck. That.
    I’m so over it. If a brown woman was wearing outfits like Miley does all day it would NOT be looked at as fashionable they would be called rachet by the fashion police in a fit of how dare she show her curves giggles. Miley needs to EDUCATE herself before she runs her mouth on issues she obviously has no understanding of. It’s called intersectionality. Take an Instagram break, pick up a book and do a little learning before you drop the angry black woman label on a fellow artist in the NEW YORK FREAKING TIMES

    * Runs around in a fit of rage *

  3. Fucking love Nicki for calling out Miley. She is such a badass and stands her ground like a boss.

    In other news, I totally thought it said “Big Sean’s speech was about his tribalding grandma” and was all like YOU GO GIRL

    (obviously what it really said was equally awesome)

  4. <3 Nicki! I saw her for the first time on SNL singing with Drake and was like "Who is that?! She's fantastic!"

    It really bothers me how clueless Miley is about race issues. She clearly cares about other important things but her seemingly wilfull ignorance here sucks. Also please don't even joke about voting for Trump.

  5. I was thrown SOOOOOO off guard when iggy popped on stage during demi’s performance? My roommate and I were immediately like, “demi, no… no….. know who your friends are…….” why

      • Well I don’t know about Demi not being queer. Didn’t Ruby rose say they slept together? Which if they did is not Ruby’s place to out her. If Demi is queer then she obviously isn’t ready to make it public knowledge.

  6. Really? Is everyone going to ignore the tastelessness of a white woman dressed as a cop presenting an award to a black woman? Even if it was unintentional, it was still a pretty big faux pas from Rebel Wilson.

    • Rebel is overweight and therefore above reproach. Fat white women are the most oppressed in the world and therefore immune from criticism. It’s the Lena Dunham defence.

        • You really are determined to argue with me aren’t you? are you know going say something snide on any comment I make? This is why I am reluctant to comment on things. Even when you apologise for something people get at you. And before you say anything, I’m not saying I am being oppressed or attacked or crying white woman tears. I am passionately anti racist and aware of my privilege and also aware that I can make mistakes and I apologise for that.

          • I just don’t take kindly to being accused of racism. Once again, I am sorry if my comments could be read that way. People are allowed to make errors and learn from them.

          • Maybe we would take your apologies more seriously if you weren’t vomiting ‘it wasn’t racist just thoughtless’ nonsense all over this thread. Just an idea.

    • This. I unfortunately did read more descriptions of the VMAs and I used to like Rebel Wilson, but no longer. Not only dressing as a cop but “Fuck the Stripper Police”? It’s a direct poke at the Black Lives Matter movement.

      I am starting to believe that all rich white Australian celebrities should be required to do intensive courses on racism in their own country and the U.S. before being allowed into America or on American TV.

      • I simply said I didn’t think that it was necessary an intentional thing by Rebel. Hardly vomiting all over the thread.

        • Racism doesn’t need to be intentional. I’m sure if she was mocked for her overweight body you wouldn’t be so forgiving. But I forgot being overweight is a problem for white women because it can affect you. Unlike racism which you choose to ignore (or support)

          • Give me one example of me supporting racism. A low thing to say. I don’t condone nasty comments about race or weight. You don’t know me at all and you are completely misconstruing my comments.

  7. I loved that performance by Tori Kelly! All fired up while staying in control until the very last note. Excellent job!

  8. I have mixed feelings about Miley. I like that she’s totally unpredictable, I like the fact that she has done some good things for the queer community. But sometimes she should just shut up. This is just another case of a white woman teaching a black woman how to talk about race. I stand with Nicki.

    As for Kanye… really?

  9. This is the VMAs where Miley will do something super insightful, apologize for her previous instances of appropriation, and highlight beautiful trans women of color and all of the celebrities will stand together and chant #BlackTransLivesMatter while flinging jewelry, moon men, and money into giant rainbow colored buckets donated to the Audre Lorde Project —

    Oh, sorry, I just got up and think I’m going to avoid any descriptions of the VMAs and replace with my dream version.

  10. Can I be on team none of them? Miley is a clueless idiot, and Nicki’s a self-absorbed ass. The racism in the entertainment industry absolutely needs to be called out, and hopefully this can spark a conversation, but Nicki has never been about anyone other than Nicki. If this had happened to any other artist, she’d never have gotten involved.

      • No, she isn’t, and none of her personal flaws excuse Cyrus’ racism, or the racism inherent in the entertainment industry that caused her work to get overlooked.

        But this woman literally pretended to be bisexual for attention. She admitted it, too. Autostraddle even did an article about it. And when people started calling her on it, she was all, ‘I said I don’t date women, but I meant I don’t date anyone! It’s a distraction, girls! You’re better off focusing on your dreams!’ Which was a lie, because she had a boyfriend at the time she said it, and she’d been dating the dude for over ten years and continued to date him until a few years later, when he wanted to pursue a rap career of his own instead of being her hype man.

        So yeah, Miley sucks, but Nicki is basically the Miley of sexual orientation. Please have some goddamn pride, Autostraddlers.

    • Also T. Swift. Everyone is somehow pretending that Taylor Swift is no longer an anti-feminist. Her award winning video is basically her saying, “I’m so much more popular than you, look at all my friends who don’t like you” to another singer. She won an award for being the best 6th grade bitch in the industry. How this makes up for her years of slut shaming I do not understand.

      • Choosing to not be half naked at the age of 17 is not slut shaming.

        If Katy Perry truly did what she did, that is a legitimate reason to dislike someone and want to say fuck you. Calling her a bitch to me, is more sexist. She seems to dislike people for crossing her, regardless of gender.

        • Choosing not to be naked is not slut shaming. songs like ““Abigail gave everything she had to a boy, who changed his mind” are. Oh man, you gave up your virginity, guess that’s it then. Its like the “chewed gum” analogy used in abstinence only sex-ed.

      • Also, if she was anti-feminist (whatever that even means) she gets to change her mind. It’s called growing up.

        This is why some people don’t like the title feminist, I prefer humanist, because some feminist are so rigid and judgmental.

        • Humanist? I keep seeing people use that word as an “alternative” to feminist and I’m confused to what they are talking about. Who am I kidding?! I’m not confused just interested in how a philosophical stance such as humanism could be directly applied to feminist theory. Concerning the welfare of all humanity as a stance in philosophical thought which is usually stated, “I’m a humanist,” as an alternative to theism, humanism values critical thought and rationalism.

          Real talk, it just makes me think of that quote from one of my favorite movies, “Princess Bride:”

          “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means,”

          And it’s not “you” but a general you because I see this so much and I would like to know.

          • I’m not applying humanism to feminism. That’s all there is to get I guess. I certainly have no interest in feminist theory.

            I don’t like feminist, because it has a set of beliefs to that I don’t agree with that go beyond equality for women.

            Peoplist doesn’t sound right, so I like humanist.
            I don’t think that many people are into philosophy that it creates that much of a confusion. People seem to understand what you mean…except you of course.

            How about this, when I find a better word, I’ll change it just for you?

            Princess Bride is a great movie, it’s odd to see it being used against me.

  11. Miley is a hot mess who is also unapologetically racist and proudfully ignorant and I’m glad (fake/scripted or not) Nicki called her out. Miley is a pro at White Feminism and is so desperate for attention it hurts.
    Also I know everyone likes to rag on Kanye West and yeah he’s a little off/weird, but I think he was right about a lot of stuff in this speech. Like he didn’t say anything that wasn’t true…or even offensive. Like he basically said awards shows are weird, true. He’s a different person now then he was when that Taylor Swift thing happened, true. He gets ridiculed for caring about stuff like he’s the only one, true. He cares about artists and free speech and art and awarding musical “greatness” for everyone. The media squeezes the life out of controversy and celebrity drama and stages things for ratings and press, absolutely true. We put celebrities on a pedestal and then watch with popcorn while they fall. He wants artists to be emotionally raw and also like, wants kids to be raised well and to be taught to love themselves. Like it was a jumbled mess for sure, but it was also true. He just needs to put it in a song because he’s not very good at articulating things in speeches.

  12. The only “real” things that happened last night were the things MTV had no part in — Nicki calling out Miley, and Kanye’s speech. What’s so meta about what Kanye said is how much MTV will now profit off re-playing the Nicki/Miley moment, enabling them to profit off real talk about race while actively manufacturing and encouraging the bullshit that necessitates it to begin with.

  13. The VMAs was soooo messy and cringe-worthy. I respect Kanye’s speech, though, and FKA Twigs was robbed.

  14. Miley dressed as a RAINBOW FLAG calling Snoop a ‘mammy’. I can’t even. Or idk, maybe it’s apropos as fuck, cause gays are some of the most racist people I know?

  15. Ughhhh
    Miley has been called out hundreds of times, but she’s not getting the message. It’s kinda infuriating to say the least. I really like the good things she does, but doing good things doesn’t excuse her racism. She needs to listen.

  16. “If you want to make it about race…”

    I hate it when people use that phrase. It is so freaking condescending. Like we’re taking situations and events that are completely unrelated to race and are CHOOSING to look at them as if they are?
    Firstly, I’m not MAKING it but race. IT IS about race.

    Despite some of the good things she has been doing lately, there are just so many things about Miley that I can not stomach.

    • 1000000% hear you. That phrase, or other similar ones drive me mad, cuz immediately you are deemed some whiner who -obviously- doesn’t realize that we’ve reached complete equality!!!1!

  17. Does anyone else think that Miley’s weird wig (like, was it supposed to be dreadlocks? Cause it looked like…I don’t even know. So fucking weird) made her look like Rachel Dolezal? No? Just me?

  18. I’m not here to defend anyone, but this is not the only website I have seen reporting incorrectly that Miley called Snoop her “Mammy”. In reference to the pre-recorded clip, she thanked “her real Mammy, Snoop, and…blah blah blah” (I forget the rest of it) but the point is that the comma serves as an AND. The woman who appeared in the film is her actual grandmother, whom we can assume she refers to as Mammy, and she was thanking her along with Snoop.

    • I see what your saying, but watching it live it did seem as if she was calling Snoop her “Mammy”. At least to me, supposedly to Heather doing the AS recap, and to the majority of who I follow on twitter.

      So perhaps it wasn’t her intention- or even how it was scripted- but it definitely came off that way.

  19. I saw people on Twitter talking about the VMAs and how surprised they were when Iggy came on stage and I’ve just now realized that it was Iggy Azalea and not Iggy Pop. I feel out of touch.

  20. Seeing Miley called out in that way made me laugh. Idk about the rest of the show b/ç I dindt bother watching.

    I’m on team no one.Miley is definitely gross and refuses to change even though she’s been called out several times, publicly. But Nick can fuck off too until she chills with calling other black women monkeys and nappy headed hoes who need perms. I’m not accepting that fuck ass anti black bullshit from anybody. I dont like either but I am happy the conversation of white feminism v. Folks of color is being had

  21. Guys No. I like them both, overall, but neither one looked good here.

    Miley looked liked the attention seeker people claim her to be by bringing up a dead horse that had been long since worked out and creating drama. I don’t think she’s racist. I think she’s ignorant. There is a difference.

    Calling someone out has to be more than running around calling people bitches at award shoes. It doesn’t make you seem like you’re about anything.

    Sorry, no I’m not going to praise Nikki for her actions, but I’m not going to defend Miley either. Instead I rather focus on how fab the girl squad looked. Seriously, Taylor and the gang were on point. FKA Twigs also rocked it. Didn’t hear any interviews with her, but hopefully some will come out.

    PS Justin and Selena…the songs aren’t bad, but can they be slightly less obvious they aren’t directed to each other, just saying.

    • Eh, I still think she’s just racist. Taylor Swift was ignorant and then people explained why her response to Nicki was wrong and she corrected herself. Miley Cyrus is just racist because her exploitation and appropriation of black culture has been brought to her attention since We Can’t Stop came out as a single and she continues to ignore the real and valid critique from black people (and others) and mock/profit from black culture for shock value, while also supporting some of the most damaging racial stereotypes when she called Nicki an angry black woman and dismissed and silenced her very real criticism of a racist industry. She’s racist and proud and tone deaf and her refusal to look at her actions critically despite the hand-holding ways people have tried get her to pushes her past ‘ignorance’.
      But yeah, FKA twigs is awesome.

      • Meh…I tend to think appropriation is sometimes overused and is much so in this case, so I do not agree.

  22. I won’t support Miley just because she’s queer. I won’t support Kanye just because he’s black. Kanye saying he can’t understand award shows because real artists never wins or something like that???? Bro, look at the Kardashians! look at the person you are banging! They are famous and rich but they don’t deserve it!

  23. BTW, i’m not defending MTV and their crap. I just thought Kanye ate his own a** when he began talking about ratings and JT. Bro we know and you are equally just as downgrading nasty because you are sleeping with the largest attention whore in la la land.

  24. I dunno, it looked a little fake to me, like how Miley had pretty much an in depth powerpoint presentation to go with her comeback? But even if it wasn’t like Nicki pretended to be bisexual for attention for ages (and she admitted it), she ain’t a SJW angel or anything. And she got that award from Rebel Wilson who two seconds earlier was having a joke about ‘tha stripper police’ and police brutality. Then they were all backstage having a big giggle. Just like Nicki and T-Swift had a big giggle a couple days ago after their big whitesplaining fight. It all looks pretty orchestrated to me.

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