Normani staged the debut live performance of her new single “Wild Side” Sunday at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
In an entirely metallic getup that matched her dancers, Normani delivered a steamy rendition of “Wild Side” where she gave a lap dance to Teyana Taylor while strapped down to a metal contraption. The moment seemingly paid homage to Janet Jackson’s past performances.
The singer was a late addition to the VMA performers lineup, with the appearance sparked in part by a grassroots social media campaign that demanded #LetNormaniPerform; she previously performed her song “Motivation” at the 2019 VMAs.
“I don’t know where to start with you guys,” Normani tweeted to her fans after her VMA performance was announced. “You’re my heart and soul and have always stuck by me through all the fucking adversities. First shall be the last and the last shall be the first. MY NATION I love youuuuu. Shit bout to be lit IM CRINE.”
Although Normani wasn’t nominated at the 2021 VMAs, she received her first Moon Person in 2019 when “Waves” won Best R&B Song.
Normani premiered the Cardi B-featuring “Wild Side” in July; the video was choreographed by the singer’s longtime collaborator Sean Bankhead. “I had already been in rehearsal for about three weeks preparing for the video when Cardi heard the record for the first time,” Normani said in a statement in July. “She really showed up for me and brought this record to life by simply doing what Cardi does best. I love that woman down and I’m forever grateful.”