Mavin Records prodigy Rema won the prize for Best Afrobeats, a new category, for his remixed single “Calm Down” featuring Selena Gomez at Tuesday’s MTV Video Music Awards.
He beat competition from other Afrobeats heavyweights such as Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, Fire Boy, Ayra Starr and Labianca to emerge winner in the category.
The “Calm Down” song surpassed a billion streams on Spotify over the weekend.
“This means so much seeing Afrobeats grow this big,” Rema said while accepting the trophy.
Meanwhile, Taylor Swift won the evening’s top trophy, as Shakira accepted the night’s prestigious Video Vanguard honor with a hip-shaking, career-spanning performance.
Swift continued her global reign by scooping awards including Best Song, Best Pop and Best Direction, as well as the top competitive award for Video of the Year, which she won for her hit “Anti-Hero.”
Turn-of-the-millennium teen heartthrobs NSYNC reunited onstage for the first time in a decade to present her with the Best Pop award, leaving Swift, who is poised to post the first billion-dollar tour, fanning her cheeks.
“This is unbelievable,” Swift said as she accepted the night’s top prize, which she also took home in 2022. “I just want to say that the fact that this is a fan-voted award means so much to me.”
But she didn’t perform on the night known far more for its spectacle than its awards, instead sipping her drink as artists including Olivia Rodrigo, Anitta and Doja Cat took the stage.
The made-for-broadcast show, held this year in Newark’s Prudential Center, frequently panned to Swift who was seated near the main stage next to Ice Spice, the viral Bronx rapper who has collaborated with the pop phenom and who won the evening’s prize for Best New Artist.