Beyonce’s Legacy Just Earned An Exclamation Point At The 2014 VMAs (Video)

Hip-Hop Fans, please subscribe to AFH TV, a streaming video service focused on real Hip-Hop culture. We already have exclusive interviews, documentaries, and rare freestyles featuring some of Rap’s most iconic artists and personalities, and much more is coming--movies, TV series, talk shows. We need your support. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Google TV, for all subscribers. Start your 7-day free trial now. Thank you.

Tonight’s (August 24) live airing of the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards was met with some early, real-time criticism. Audio problems, comedic missteps from presenters, odd red carpet segments, and lackluster performances marred some of the show’s social media impact. Then, Lorde won “Best Rock Video” for a song featuring no guitar, and things seemed truly awry for the ’14 VMAs, held at the Los Angeles Forum.

Artists like Eminem, Drake, Kanye West, were among those who missed the once paramount event. While the Hip-Hop elite was largely absent, RiFF RaFF served as Katy Perry’s date, dressed in matching denim outfits, spoofing Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’ wardrobe 15 years ago. Sadly, that era of awards shows was largely in a disconnect from this show. The late 1990s, early 2000s quality of performances (free from Social cynicism, memes, and banter) seemed lost on an audience including Taylor Swift doing the Shmoney dance, Arianna Grande leaving RiFF RaFF hanging, and cheap ALS/ice-bucket jokes from “SNL” cast member, Jay Pharoah.

Perhaps the missing ingredient and the saving grace was Beyonce. While veterans including Usher, Maroon 5, and Taylor Swift were on hand to do performances, Beyonce revived the 2014 VMAs in her mega-medley of recent hits, leading up to accepting the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award.

From her 2014 self-titled album, Beyonce made a case for why she—as Jay Z would label her—”the greatest living entertainer.” Versatile, sincere, agile, and energetic—Bey’s extended set was wonderfully accentuated by special effects and LCD screens, however, as a singer, dancer, and bombshell, the performer took center-stage. Top-notch choreography, innovative stage design, and critical marks all hit—Mrs. Carter unleashed one of her greatest performances of her career.

Like any great artist with a massive and evolved catalog, Bey performed only from her most recent segment. Speaking to her life at present, the songs portrayed her as a woman, a temptress, a lover, and a mother all at once. Jay, with Blue Ivy on his lap, looked on, sitting beside Kelly Rowland. Jay’s trademark deadpan expressions teased social media, before Mr. Carter took the stage to shut down tabloid rumors, honoring his wife, who returned the favor. All of this performance was accomplished without a single guest—neither Jay nor Nicki Minaj.

After some short-changed performances on big TV spots in the last year, Beyonce owned her crown, and earned her award.

Related: One of the Greats Covers One of the Greats as Beyonce Perform’s Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor (Video)