The 2003 MTV Video Music Awards were one for the history books, and on Sept. 12, the 40th annual VMAs will take place in New Jersey, marking 20 years since the infamous early aughts ceremony that saw Madonna, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera share an onstage kiss during a notorious wedding-themed performance. However, this wasn’t the only standout moment of the night, as Queen Bey also made her solo debut performance on the 2003 VMAs stage.
As the Beyhive might recall, Beyoncé kicked off her show-stopping performance with the Sean Paul-assisted hit “Baby Boy,” which began with the 32-time Grammy winner descending from the ceiling of New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. Bey then transitioned flawlessly into the Dangerously in Love lead single “Crazy in Love,” closing off her VMAs set with future husband Jay-Z in tow.
Speaking to MTV News shortly after her solo performance debut, Beyoncé recalled her intense VMA rehearsals, revealing that on the night of the show she was suspended in the air a lot longer than she had anticipated. “I’d never hung that long!” the hitmaker explained at the time. “The people who were accepting the award, I don’t know if they were aware I was hanging that high — so I was dangling for a good minute or so. I’m like, ‘OK!’”
In the two decades following the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards — during which she took home the awards for Best Female Video, Best R&B Video, and Best Choreography in a Video — Beyoncé went on to become one of the most celebrated artists in history, and has since made an additional five knockout appearances at the VMAs.
One of Queen Bey’s most notable VMA performances occurred back in 2011, when the singer took to the stage in support of her fourth studio album, aptly titled 4. Following an energetic rendition of the hit single “Love on Top,” Beyoncé shocked fans by dropping her mic, unbuttoning her jacket, and rubbing her belly to announce her first pregnancy to the world.
Three years later, in 2014, Bey was honored with the prestigious Video Vanguard Award, and treated fans to a 17-minute medley of her self-titled album tracks, including “Pretty Hurts” and “Haunted.”
More recently, in 2016, Beyoncé returned to the MTV VMAs stage once again, this time to showcase some of the biggest tracks from her Grammy-winning album Lemonade, such as “Hold Up,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” and lead single “Formation.”