Nicki Minaj Honors Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston During Moving VMAs Video Vanguard Speech
After locating her phone, which had her speech written on it, Nicki launched into a string of shout-outs.
"I wanna take a second to just say thank you to all of the key people that inspired me and who I think inspired my flow. Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Doug E. Fresh..." she began.
Nicki continued by paying homage to some of her peers who helped her in the beginnings of her career.
"People who gave me huge opportunities that I'll never forget. Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Britney Spears, Rihanna," she rattled off.
"Of course, you guys, I have to thank Drizzy for always saying the things I need to hear to get me back in the game," Nicki continued, referring to frequent collaborator Drake.
She also thanked her "whole Young Money family" in a shout-out to the label that launched her career in the 2010s.
In the middle of her speech, she noted she felt it "was in [her] spirit" to mention legends Michael Jackson — who is the namesake behind the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award — and Whitney Houston.
"I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here. I wish that people understood what they meant and what they were going through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even for people who you think have the perfect lives. I wish Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD and Nipsey Hussle were here," she shared on stage.
Watch Nicki Minaj Accept the Video Vanguard Award at the 2022 VMAs:
Nicki also acknowledged the "artists, producers, and writers" who have worked on her projects, as well as "all the people who allowed me to feature on their work."
"I appreciate each and every one of you. I don't take that for granted. Thank you for giving me a chance to show my skills," she added.
And of course, she gave love to her fans, the Barbz. The iconic gold-plated Moon Person was presented to Nicki by a group of Barbz, which made the moment even more special.
"Hold on — the Barbz! Barbz! Thank you so much. You guys are my babies," Nicki gushed.
In closing, she thanked her almost-2-year-old son, who she calls "Papa Bear," before reminding everyone about her newly-released compilation album, Queen Radio: Volume 1.