From Cardi B opening the ceremony to Maluma’s VMAs debut and J.Lo’s Video Vanguard Award, Latino artists will have their moment at this year’s VMAs. While the awards haven’t had a long history of nominating Latino artists outside of the Best Latin category, this year, the VMAs are pushing for more presence of Latino performers on the show.
Jessie Reyez and Maluma, who are both nominated, will make their debut on the VMAs stage, while Jennifer Lopez will perform a retrospective medley of her best music videos before receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. MTV is also bringing back the Best Latin category, which was last included in the show in 2013. The nominations include Maluma’s “Felices los 4,” Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B’s “Dinero,” Shakira’s “Chantaje,” Daddy Yankee’s “Dura,” J Balvin’s “Mi Gente,” and Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato’s “Échame la culpa.” Meanwhile, Camila Cabello, Bruno Mars, and Cardi B are nominated for Video of the Year and Artist of the Year.
But as we look forward to the 2018 MTV VMAs, it’s key to look back at some of the performances, artists, and moments that catapulted Latinos into the cultural zeitgeist and onto the MTV stage. Some of the most iconic moments from the award show’s history feature Latino artists. Let’s not forget when Don Omar, Daddy Yankee, and Tego Calderón sang their biggest reggaeton hits in 2005. And tonight’s honoree Jennifer Lopez made her debut at the VMAs dancing salsa in 2001. And of course, who could forget when Christina Aguilera joined Madonna and Britney Spears in a three-way kiss on stage?
Take a look back at some of the most memorable appearances by Latino artists at the awards.
Shakira and Alejandro Sanz delivered the first Spanish-language VMAs performance.
As controversial as they have been, Shakira’s multiple crossovers have proven fruitful, as the Colombian singer has performed three times on the MTV VMAs stage. But her most significant appearance happened in 2005, when she and Alejandro Sanz took the stage to perform “La Tortura” from her album Fijación Oral Vol.1. It was the first Spanish-language performance in VMAs history.
Tego Calderón, Don Omar and Daddy Yankee had celebs dancing to reggaetón.
Back in 2005, reggaeton was experiencing its first rise to the mainstream, and Don Omar, Daddy Yankee, and Tego Calderón performed at the MTV VMAs. Don Omar even donned a Puerto Rican flag T-shirt as he sang “Reggaeton Latino,” while Daddy Yankee performed his biggest hit “Gasolina.” Bronx-born Boricua Fat Joe presented all three rappers, who each sang in Spanish and shouted out their Puerto Rican roots on stage, saying “¡Viva Puerto Rico!”
Jennifer Lopez opened her 2001 performance with salsa.
Jennifer Lopez has embraced her Puerto Rican roots since she first released her album On the 6 in 1999, and her MTV VMAs performance in 2001 is more than enough evidence. Lopez began her performance with a salsa choreography from her first tour Let’s Get Loud, followed with a rendition of “I’m Real,” right alongside Ja Rule.
Bruno Mars performed "Gorilla."
Bruno Mars is well-known for his live performances and his 2013 MTV VMAs appearance was no exception. The half-Puerto Rican singer performed his single “Gorilla” from the album Unorthodox Jukebox. Mars lit up the stage with green laser lights, similar to J.Lo’s “Waiting For Tonight” video.
Cardi B's showed off her bloody moves at the VMAs pre-show.
In 2017, Cardi B was on the verge of her massive breakthrough, and she had the chance to celebrate her budding fame by performing her chart-topping single “Bodak Yellow” during the MTV VMAs pre-show. The Dominican-Trinidadian rapper wore a silver bedazzled ensemble with matching boots. Cardi also had a major red carpet moment when she was asked who her favorite artist of 2017 was, to which she answered, “Me!”