Nicki Minaj Accepts VMA’s Vanguard Award

According to Rolling Stone, Nicki Minaj used her acceptance speech to remember a handful of late stars who had a big impact on her throughout her career.

“I don’t know why y’all, but this was in my spirit to say: I wish Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here,” she said. “I wish that people understood what they meant and what they were going through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even for the people who they think have the perfect lives.”

She added, “I wish Pop Smoke, and Juice Wrld, and Nipsey Hussle were here. RIP Daddy.” (Minaj’s father was killed in a car crash last year.)

After grabbing her phone from someone in the crowd, Minaj started her speech by thanking a slew of rappers who came before her for “inspiring her flow,” including Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown, and Lauryn Hill. She also thanked the likes of Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Mariah Carey, and Britney Spears for “huge opportunities I’ll never forget.” And, of course, she shouted out Drake for “always saying the things I need to hear to get me back in the game.”