Nicki Minaj ‘wishes Michael Jackson was here’ as she pays tribute at awards

Nicki Minaj honoured Michael Jackson during the this year's MTV VMAs ceremony.

The 39-year-old rapper was awarded the Video Vanguard award at the 38th edition of the ceremony on Sunday (August 28) at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, USA.

During her acceptance speech, the Super Bass singer paid tribute to music icons Michael and Whitney Houston as she told millions of fans she wished they “were here.”

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After thanking an array of artists, including Kanye West, Madonna, and Rihanna, she said: “I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here.

“I wish people understood what they were going through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even for those who seem to have perfect lives.”

The audience then erupted in applause for the late stars.

Nicki hosted the award-do alongside First Class singer Jack Harlow and rapper LL Cool J.

She received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which is “presented to artists for their outstanding contributions and profound impact on music video and popular culture.”

Michael Jackson died aged 50 after suffering from cardiac arrest caused by a fatal combination of drugs given to him by his personal doctor.

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While Whitney Houston died at the age 48 from accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use mentioned as contributing factors.

After hailing her idols, Nicki wrapped up her speech by saying: “Thank you for giving me a chance to show my skills. MTV, thank you for always being amazing to me.”

She also paid tribute to people who gave her huge opportunities, and credited Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Mariah Carrey, Eminem, Britney Spears, and Rihanna.

Before leaving the stage, she realised she had yet to thank her followers and said: “Hold on. The Barbz…the Barbz! Thank you so much! You guys are my babies!”

“I love you guys! Thank you!” she said as she left the stage, glad and teary-eyed.

Past recipients of MTV’s coveted Vanguard Award include David Bowie, the Beatles, Tom Petty, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Pink.

Nicki has scooped up a whopping 17 VMA nominations throughout her career and taken home five awards.

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