Every Artist Who's Won the VMAs Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award

Getty / Frazer Harrison

The VMAs took a break from presenting its Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award amid the pandemic, but it’s back and better than ever in 2022, as Nicki Minaj is set to be given the prestigious honour at the Aug. 28 ceremony. The occasion has got us thinking about all the other musicians to receive the VMA recognition over the years. The Vanguard was created in 1984 and renamed after Jackson in 1991; it recognises artists’ overall achievements in music and film, and there were actually two inaugural winners: David Bowie and The Beatles.

While there has been plenty of debate over who probably should have a Vanguard Award but doesn’t, it doesn’t get awarded every year and has sometimes been presented as a lifetime achievement award instead. The best thing about the Vanguard Award is seeing how the artists celebrate and accept them. Beyoncé nearly performed her entire self-titled album; Kanye West almost ran for US president; Justin Timberlake basically resurrected *NSYNC from the dead; and Lady Gaga had us throwing wine at the TV when she presented Britney Spears with an award while dressed as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone.

Keep reading to see all the artists who have taken home the coveted Moon Person over the years, then check out even more unforgettable moments from the MTV VMAs.

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