Put us anywhere on this green planet, and you better believe our people will have a grand ol’ time and make the best out of any celebration. That’s why it looks like so much fun when you see Black entertainers at award shows, and things only get more turnt up if one of us happens to be hosting the event.
The 2022 MTV Video Music Awards is shaping up to be yet another one of those occasions after the recent announcement that Jack Harlow, Nicki Minaj and rap icon LL Cool J will co-host the annual ceremony.
All three musicians have their own relationship with the VMAs, but the “Mama Said Knock You Out” emcee definitely has the most decorated history of them all. He took home “Best Rap Video” for the aforementioned song, which he also performed the same year, then received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award a few years later in 1997. He’ll be making his first VMA appearance in over 20 years after last attending the show back in 2000.
Nicki on the other hand has been one of the ceremony’s most celebrated artists in recent years, winning five out of the 17 times she’s been nominated throughout her career. This year she’ll not only add another “Best Hip-Hop Video” nom to her belt — maybe even another win! — but she’ll also be getting the LL treatment by receiving this year’s Video Vanguard Award.
While Harlow isn’t Black himself, he’s made it a point in the past to address that his music is heavily geared towards a Black audience. He’s one of three musicians with the most nominations this year totaling at seven, which include top honors for “Artist of the Year” and “Video of the Year.”
We’re sure all three will do an amazing job hosting the 2022 VMAs, but we took a minute to highlight 10 of our favorite Black entertainers to host an award show just in case they need a few pointers on how to get the job done.
Reflect with us on award show history with these 10 unforgettable hosts who perfectly represented for the Black community on their respective stages:
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1. Richard Pryor
He was so good co-hosting at the 1977 Academy Awards, they brought him back again for a second time to co-host in 1983. Both times he kept the audience in stitches.
2. Whoopi Goldberg
The consummate Oscars host, Whoopi has served as MC for the Academy Awards in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002. Pick your favorite!
3. Chris Rock
The celebrated comedian has been host on many occasions, but the 1999 VMAs definitely had everything — uncensored jabs at attendees, a handful of fresh suit changes and an overall demeanor that turned it all into one big standup show.
4. Keke Palmer
For the remote-only 2020 VMA ceremony, Keke proved that you don’t need an actual audience in order to be entertaining. We just hope she’s asked to do it all again in-person!
5. The Wayans Brothers
Shawn and Marlon were the ultimate dynamic duo when they hosted the 2000 Video Music Awards, playing off each other’s keen sense of humor with symbiotic ease. Then again, they’re brothers!
6. Regina Hall
Before doing a stellar job earlier this year as co-host of the 2022 Oscars — the one where that thing happened — Hall had already proven herself as a suitable host at the 2019 BET Awards. We still can’t get over her doing “Da Butt”!
7. Queen Latifah
After years prior of us seeing her as a rough-and-tough female emcee, Queen Latifah entered the 2000s as a bonafide jazz singer and Oscar-nominated actress. Her stint as host of the 2005 GRAMMYs only further proved how multitalented she is.
There are moments that stand out in award show history, and then there’s the epic night that Mo’Nique hosted the 2004 BET Awards and did a full dance tribute to Beyoncé by performing her debut single, “Crazy In Love.” Mo’s rendition of the “Uh Oh!” dance was oh-so-good!
9. Tracee Ellis Ross
Not only did she look fly the entire time, but Tracee being there to host as her iconic mom, the incomparable Diana Ross, received the Lifetime Achievement Award made for a beautiful full-circle moment.
10. Sammy Davis, Jr.
As the ultimate Hollywood Renaissance Man — singer, dancer, actor, comedian and so much more — it only made sense that he’d shine as an award show host. He truly set the tone for generations later with his co-hosting duties at the Academy Awards in both 1972 and 1975.