Last night, the MTV Video Music Awards happened, and you probably shouldn’t know that. It’s not like they even decided to pay any lip service to rock or metal this year. Even Twenty One Pilots, a true breakout band from the past year that is ostensibly a rock band, wasn’t included in last night’s ceremonies. Many of the awards were given away offstage, which makes sense considering many of the videos aren’t ever shown on MTV. While we didn’t watch last night, the show, which featured performances by Britney Spears, Beyonce and The Chainsmokers, we’re over the age of 21 and like music with guitars in it, so we probably weren’t supposed to.
At any rate, if the above paragraph doesn’t make you feel old, maybe the fact that Rihanna won the Video Vanguard Awards last night will. Her first album came out in 2005, making her a heritage artist, especially for the VMAs. She played four times throughout the ceremony last night, and if you’d think that maybe that would lend itself to multiple costume changes and set designs, you’d be right. In fact, one of them borrowed pretty liberally from death/black metal, with a logo popping up that looks destined for a black T-shirt. That doesn’t mean that she’s totally metal now, but then again, her music has officially been remixed by Korn, so maybe this is the next logical step. Or perhaps yet another example of metal’s iconography being co-opted by the mainstream.