Nicki Minaj's emotional MTV VMAs speech: 'I wish that people took mental health seriously'

During the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night, rapper Nicki Minaj took the stage with some of her greatest hits before accepting the Video Vanguard award, where she thanked those who inspired her and those who have given her huge opportunities.

"I want to take a second to just say thank you to all of the key people that inspired me and who I think inspired my flow. Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Slick RIck, Doug E. Fresh. And then I wrote people who gave me huge opportunities that I'll never forget – Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Britney Spears, Rihanna." And Minaj also credited those are no longer with us like rappers Pop Smoke, Juice WRLD and Nipsey Hussle.

"I wrote this down, I don't know why y'all, but this was in my spirit to say: I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here. I wish that people understood what they meant and what they were going through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even for the people who you think have perfect lives," said Minaj.

Minaj has previously opened up about her own mental health struggles, even revealing in 2011 to Cosmopolitan that she had become so depressed while trying to break into the industry, she had suicidal thoughts. The rapper took a brief hiatus after her 2018 album Queen, which she has since said was much needed as it affected her mental health for the good.

And on a lighter note, while Minaj did spend time during her speech mentioning people who aren't here today, she did mention a very important someone who is.

Minaj shared, "Listen, I have a new baby, his name is Papa Bear. Papa Bear, I love you so much. Mommy loves you so so so so so much!"

Video transcript

[WHOOSHING]

NICKI MINAJ: I wrote this down. I don't know why, y'all, but this is was-- this was in my spirit to say. I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here.

KYLIE MAR: During the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night, rapper Nicki Minaj took the stage with some of her greatest hits before accepting the Video Vanguard Award, where she thanked those who inspired her and those who have given her huge opportunities--

NICKI MINAJ: Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Britney Spears, Rihanna.

KYLIE MAR: --but also credited those who are no longer with us.

NICKI MINAJ: I wish Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD and Nipsey Hussle were here. I wish that people understood what they meant and what they were going through. I wish people took mental health seriously, even for the people who you think have the perfect lives.

[CHEERING]

KYLIE MAR: Minaj has previously opened up about her own mental health struggles, even revealing in 2011 that she had become so depressed while trying to break into the industry that she had suicidal thoughts. The rapper took a brief hiatus after her 2018 album, "Queen," which she has since said was so needed, as it affected her mental health for the good.

And while she took time Sunday during her speech to mention people who aren't with us anymore, she also made sure to mention a very important someone who is.

NICKI MINAJ: Listen, I have a new baby. His name is Papa Bear. And I love you. Papa Bear, I love you so much. Mommy loves you so, so, so, so, so, so much.

[AUDIO LOGO]