This mess of a show needed Cardi B. When it was announced that Cardi B would be opening the VMAs, people assumed that meant a performance. They were disappointed when it became clear that Cardi was only going to show up for a charming but anti-climactic baby reveal gag and to accept her awards. 

I’ll take Cardi B any way we can get her. This was her first appearance since she gave birth to her daughter Kulture last month. Did people really think she was a) going to perform or b) bring a one-month old baby out on stage at the VMAs? Please. 

“Welcome to New York, everybody. I am the Empress.” 

That’s a direct shot at Nicki Minaj and her self-declared “Queen” title, right? This is also Cardi’s first public appearance since Queen dropped and there are some not-so-subtle jabs at Cardi on the album. We know that Nicki and Cardi have a complicated relationship and that they both are not above being petty. I’m going to assume that Cardi was taking shots at Nicki in her opening and again when she accepted the award for Best New Artist. 

“All of the love that fans, my friends, everybody shows me is genuine and beautiful and that’s something that God gave me that you can’t buy, bitch.”  

That “bitch” could just be for the haters who told her she wouldn’t succeed after she had a baby, the same people who were the reason she hid her pregnancy for so long, but it seemed pointed. I don’t love the Nicki Minaj and Cardi B beef which has gone from a sexist assumption to a seemingly full-blown feud. I don’t love it because I think it perpetuates the idea that two women in a male-dominated field can’t get along but I am always here for some good ol’ fashioned petty drama. And Cardi B’s petty was one of the most entertaining things about a mostly flat and uninteresting awards show. 

Every time Cardi was on screen, she was magic. The VMAs needed her spark. I don’t understand why they had her accepting her Best New Artist award in an audience pit but the VMAs was full of inexplicable production decisions so I guess that’s my answer. Cardi B won Best New Artist. She may not feel “new” anymore but it’s a reminder that she hasn’t been at this that long. She is still relatively new and yet, I can’t imagine an enjoyable awards show without her and her “ooowwww.” She said four words (not counting the “ows”) during her acceptance speech for Best Collaboration with DJ Khaled and JLo and of course, they were the best four words of the whole speech. 

Finally, I am very into Cardi B’s post-baby aesthetic. This hair is GOOD.