Rihanna made it clear throughout the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards that there was a reason she was taking home the coveted Video Vanguard Award.
The “Umbrella” singer turned the annual awards ceremony into her own artistic residency, popping up four times throughout the night for extended medleys of her greatest hits.
Clad in an all-white Hood By Air ensemble, Rihanna opened the 2016 MTV VMAs show from New York’s Madison Square Garden with a throwback to her early songs, starting with “Don’t Stop the Music” and “Only Girl (In the World)“ before working her way into “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been.”
For her second go onstage, Rihanna brought out dozens of backup dancers to get down as she ran through a party-atmosphere medley of “Rude Boy,” “What’s My Name” and “Work.”
Tracee Ellis Ross introduced Rihanna’s third performance of the night, a glamor-infused dip into her hits “Needed Me,” “Pour It Up” and “B***h Better Have My Money.” She rocked a fur stole, black bodysuit and thigh-high boots or the occasion.
Mary J. Blige introduced Rihanna’s grand finale: an epic, orchestra-backed take on “Stay,” “Diamonds” and “Love on the Brain,” all done while donning a gorgeous champagne-colored gown. She went straight from her final performance into accepting her career-spanning award fromDrake.