Rihanna’s Closing 2016 VMAs Performance Showed Off Her True Talent

Can you believe that Rihanna has had a career for over a decade? From “Pon de Replay” to “Sledgehammer," she’s had so many hits, and MTV decided to present her with the Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 Video Music Awards. Rihanna played a medley of her hits all night long, performing a whopping four times throughout the night — it was pretty awesome. My favorite part of the night with Rihanna, though, was her last VMAs performance, when she slowed things down and presented us viewers with her best ballads.

Mary J. Blige announced Rihanna’s last performance, and I agreed with her when she remarked on how Rihanna’s voice has gotten stronger and better and more assured throughout the course of her decade-long career. Fans are used to Rihanna’s dance hits like “Umbrella” and “We Found Love," but watching Rihanna perform ballads like “Stay," “Diamonds," and “Love On The Brain” reminded me just how talented she is. She wouldn’t have made it this long if she wasn’t. Slowing things down with just a piano and a big, billowy dress (which is how I imagine myself living my life, if I’m being honest here) was the perfect way for Rihanna to receive her Video Vanguard award.

The best part of Rihanna’s final performance? Her accepting her award. After a touching speech by Drake, who said he’d been in love with Rihanna since he’s 22 years old, Rihanna made a gracious speech thanking her fans, those in her life, and everyone who has wanted to take a chance on her. Rihanna truly is a pioneer of modern pop music, from ballad or dance pop, she deserved to be honored as such.