The MTV Video Music Awards will honour pop diva Rihanna with its Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which recognises an artist’s cultural impact, the network said Thursday.
Rihanna will receive the award and perform at the annual awards extravaganza to take place on August 28 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, MTV said in a statement.
Rihanna, while just 28, has emerged as one of the most successful musicians of her era. She holds the all-time record for sales of digital singles with more than 100 million.
Rihanna has twice won the Video of the Year award at the MTV gala. In 2007, she took the night’s top prize for “Umbrella,” a technologically advanced video in which liquids appear to move in synch with Rihanna, who is covered by silver body paint.
She won again five years later for “We Found Love,” which depicted Rihanna — who was notoriously beaten by then boyfriend Chris Brown — in a turbulent relationship that ranges from playful frolicking to intense fighting.
“We Found Love,” a collaboration with DJ Calvin Harris, was shot in Northern Ireland by Melina Matsoukas who more recently directed Beyonce’s politically charged “Formation.”
Beyonce leads the year’s VMA nominations amid acclaim for “Formation” and other work from “Lemonade,” her intertwined album and film.
Named for late King of Pop Michael Jackson, the Video Vanguard Award recognizes contributions to music and pop culture and is not given every year.
Last year Kanye West received the award and used the occasion to declare, with an unclear level of seriousness, that he will run for US president in 2020.
A similar announcement would seem unlikely from Rihanna, who was born in Barbados.