Well, that settles it: Blue Ivy Carter is just as good at making people bawl and cheer like maniacs as her mama is.
Beyonce, the recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2014 MTV VMAs, could've stuck to the hits with the allotted time for her medley. She could've brought "Single Ladies" back (and a tidal wave of speculation to go with it, given how rumors about the stability of her marriage are swirling). She could've launched into "Run the World (Girls)," just the way she did for the wildly successful Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. She could've rolled out "Partition," "Bow Down" and "Halo," reprised "Drunk in Love" with her hubby by her side and thrown a sideways glance at the haters and the tabloid headlines, and she could've called it a night.
BUT NOPE. Beyonce used her Video Vanguard performance to present a more nuanced and emotional image, and she did so with one of the most perfectly curated medleys she's performed to date. The fact that Bey started with "Mine" and "Jealous" was enough to halt all conversation, silence all phones and pause the internet for a moment, as she got real right off the bat.
Instead of going with her greatest hits, she launched into two of the rawest and most brutal tracks on Beyonce that all but called out the rumor mill directly. Then when "Drunk in Love" made its way into the mix, Jay Z stayed put in his seat with a totally transfixed Blue Ivy in his arms. "Partition" and "Flawless" elicited nothing but chills and rapturous screams, and by the time "XO" came around, Blue Ivy was joined by nearly every A Lister and chart-topper in the room as they sang along and tried to keep up with Queen B's moves.
By the time Jay and Blue made their way to the stage to present Beyonce with the Video Vanguard Award after the last note rang out, that #flawless, seemingly unshakeable diva lost it, and her tears flowed the second baby Blue started clapping harder than anyone else in the room. (Let's get real: We all lost it the second Blue Ivy cried out "GO MOMMY!" when the applause roared louder.)
As much as Beyonce is an Independent Woman to the core and has been for the majority of her career, her persona, both onstage and off, is one that she's tweaked and altered until it revolved around her family. Her husband is a frequent collaborator and a perfect creative fit; their daughter's face has been worked into the visuals of her tours, and Blue Ivy's very existence was announced on the VMA stage just three years ago.
As much as it makes sense for her Video Vanguard performance to be All About Beyonce, "Drunk in Love" sans Jay Z and all, Beyonce's made it so that you no longer get just Beyonce when you seek out her music. Jay and Blue are a part of her mythology, the muses for both her joys and pains as they play out track by track and net her lifetime distinctions and various awards. Tonight, Beyonce didn't simply receive the highest honor at the VMAs: She did so on her own terms. And watching her acknowledge some of the more heartbreaking and euphoric aspects of her public and private lives was a reward for her fans and her family in and of itself.