What Is the VMAs' Video Vanguard Award? It's Pretty Impressive, Even for Beyonce

Since 1984, MTV has been honoring artists for their excellence in music videos at the Video Music Awards (duh). And although awards such as Video of the Year and Best Collaboration are definitely sought after, one of the most coveted honors is the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. The award, which was renamed after Jackson in 1991, is a lifetime achievement award that honors "exemplary musicians who have made an incredible and long-lasting impact on pop culture." Basically, if you receive this award, you've done something right and will probably be remembered forever. Casual.

This year, the honor will go to none other than Beyoncé. After winning 11 VMAs and producing music video hit after hit, the Queen Bey, er, Bee herself will officially plant her flag in MTV history. Of course, Beyoncé isn't the first musical icon to receive the award. Check out a few of the other Vanguard Award recipients.

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The Beatles

The Beatles received the award in 1984 for their creation of short films for songs such as “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.”

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David Bowie

In 1984, along with The Beatles, Bowie received the honor thanks to his work with director Mick Rock on “some of the proto-MTV era’s first music videos.”

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Two years after debuting her “Like A Virgin” music video on MTV in 1984, the queen of pop nabbed the award in 1986.

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Michael Jackson

Although the award wasn’t renamed after him until 1991, Jackson took home the award in 1988 after the release of his iconic music video for “Thriller.” His sister, Janet Jackson, later received the award in 1990.

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In 1995, the alt-rock band with over 70 clips to its name — everything from short films to music videos — took home the award.

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LL Cool J

In 1997, LL Cool J became the first rapper to receive the Vanguard Award.

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Beastie Boys

When the Beastie Boys received the award in 1998, the late rapper Adam Yauch took the opportunity to speak out against “U.S. aggression in the Middle East.”

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Britney Spears

In 2011, Spears was given the award by Lady Gaga after an unforgettable performance by many of her music video alter egos.

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Justin Timberlake

Obviously music video treasures such as “Mirrors,” “SexyBack,” and “Cry Me a River” helped Timberlake take home the award in 2013.

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