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Shakira Thanks 2 Sons for ‘Cheering Me Up’ During Video Vanguard Speech at the 2023 MTV VMAs

Shakira Accepts the Video Vanguard Award at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards
Shakira accepts the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award onstage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards. Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV

Shakira made a triumphant return to the MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday, September 12, accepting the Video Vanguard Award and performing at the show for the first time in more than 15 years.

“Thank you, MTV, for being a big part of my career since I was only 18 years old,” Shakira, 46, began her speech. “Tonight I want to thank people who have played a key role in my visual history.”

Shakira went on to shout out her “very dear friends,” her “creative partners” and her loyal “army” of fans before turning her attention to her family.

“I want to thank my parents. I want to thank my kids, Milan and Sasha, who are here,” she added, as the camera panned to the boys, whom she shares with ex Gerard Piqué. “Thank you so much for cheering me up and making me feel that Mama can do it all.”

Milan, 10, and Sasha, 8, had joined their mom on the red carpet earlier on Tuesday, sporting matching Versace tracksuits while Shakira glittered in a gold gown.

Shakira is the first South American artist to receive the Video Vanguard Award. Past honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake.

“Shakira is a true global force who continues to inspire and influence the masses with her unique, musical prowess,” Paramount’s Bruce Gillmer said in an August statement announcing the award. “She’s a trailblazer for women around the world and one of the first artists to lead the globalization of Latin music. Her massive impact across the musical landscape will be long lasting as she continues to create and entertain at the highest level.”

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This year alone, Shakira received four VMAs nominations: Best Collaboration and Best Latin Video for “TQG” with Karol G, Best Latin Video for “Acróstico” and Artist of the Year. She has won four VMAs and racked up 30 nods throughout her career. Her performance at the awards show marked her first live appearance there since she and Wyclef Jean teamed up on her hit “Hips Don’t Lie” in 2006.

Shakira Accepts the Video Vanguard Award at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards
Shakira with sons Sasha and Milan Piqué at the 2023 MTV Music Video Awards. John Nacion/WireImage

Shakira opened up earlier this year about experiencing a creative rebirth and continuing to prove herself after decades in the spotlight. “I constantly have a [debate] with myself: I want to check if I really have talent or if I still have it, if it has not disappeared,” she told Televisa in February. “That’s what makes me want to go back to the recording studio and, now, I’m more excited than ever.”

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After going through a very public split from longtime partner Piqué  in June 2022, Shakira relied on her music to get through the hard days. “Music saved my life and gave me wings to fly,” she told People en Español one year after the breakup. “It allowed me to be myself; it rescued me from the most difficult moments. It connected with who I really am when I felt lost. When I couldn’t recognize myself, music was my mirror.”

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