The singer gave an exuberant performance to kickoff the awards show.
Rihanna was filled with energy as she opened the MTV Video Music Awards earning herself the first standing ovation of the evening.
The singer performed a medley of some of her greatest hits including “Only Girl,” “Don’t Stop the Music,” “Where Have You Been” and “We Found Love.” She danced across the pink-lit stage rocking pink sunglasses and a high ponytail in front of her pink-hoodie-clad backup dancers.
At the end of her high-energy performance the crowd stood and cheered loudly.
Her second performance was a giant dance party on stage, she sang “Work” and “What’s My Name” among other songs. Her extra-long mesh durag got multiple compliments on Twitter. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were seen smiling and clapping as her song ended.
Rihanna’s third time on stage started out with the singer performing “Needed Me” by herself. She had the MTV censors working hard to bleep out the curse words from the beginning of the song. Backup dancers joined her for “Pour It Up” and pink lightning and blue smoke filled the stage for “Bitch Better Have My Money.”
Rihanna brought the glam out on stage for her fourth and final performance. The singer sang “Stay” and “Diamonds” under a chandelier with a large band and white piano behind her.
Drake came out clad in a tuxedo to present Rihanna with the 2016 Vanguard Award.
“What’s most impressive is the person,” said Drake. “She succeeds by doing what nobody in this music industry does, by being herself.”
“We love the woman who hasn’t changed since day one,” he continued. “She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old.” Drake called her a “living, breathing legend” and handed her the Moonman.
“This is the first Vanguard to land anywhere close to my country,” said Rihanna about Barbados. “My success is not my own, it’s my family’s, it’s my fans, it’s my country, it’s the Caribbean as a whole, it’s women, it’s black women.”