Britney Spears’ Slithering ‘Slave 4 U’ Tops Artists’ Most Epic VMA Moment

Spears' 2001 VMA performance, featuring Banana the python, resonates with pop stars old and new.

The Video Music Awards stage has given fans some of the most mind blowing performances of all time, and with Rihanna, One Direction, Taylor Swift and Pink all set to take the stage this year, it’s safe to say that another epic moment will be added to the list.

Which VMA moment was the most epic? Vote in our Newsroom poll!

Yet, when looking back at artists who have made a career of memorable VMA moments, one person always comes to mind: Britney Spears.
The pop diva made her VMA debut in 1999, sharing the stage with *NSYNC and performing her hit “…Baby One More Time.” The following year, Spears took things to a whole new level. Hitting the stage in a glittery tux singing “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” a then-18-year-old Spears ripped off the suit revealing a skin-colored ensemble, showing off impeccable dance moves as she transitioned into an unforgettable performance of “Oops!…I Did it Again.”

For the third year in a row, Spears was tapped to perform at the 2001 Video Music Awards in New York City. Many wondered if Spears would be able to top the strip-teasing, jaw dropping moment of “Oops!”, but all doubts were cast aside when she hit the stage. Performing “I’m a Slave 4 U” for the first time, Spears opened the song in a jungle-type setting, emerging from a cage with a white tiger by her side. After two minutes of heart-pounding dance moves, Spears saunters to the back of the stage to put a live python around her next, instantaneously making this performance an iconic VMA moment.

MTV News recently caught up with “Demonstrate” singer JoJo, who grew up idolizing Spears, and she revealed that the moment Spears performed “Slave,” it instantly topped her list of VMA memories.

“It will always stick out for me probably because the age I was and what Britney meant to me, what she means for a lot of people, ” JoJo said. “When she came out with the snake around her, it was ‘Wow!’ ”

Yet, JoJo isn’t the only one. More than a decade later, and many performances in between, Spears’ snake dance still resonates as a top moment in VMA history and a favorite memory among artists.

“I’m gonna go with Britney Spears,” Max George from The Wanted told MTV News of his favorite VMA performance.

“My favorite moment has to be Britney Spears “Slave 4 U,” Karmin‘s Amy Heidemann said. “[She] comes out with the snake on her neck and she’s dancing around and crazy. I was like I must do that with my life, it was so cool.”

98 Degrees member Jeff Timmons agreed. “When Britney did ‘Slave,’ I think that was the first time she did ‘Slave’ with the snake and she looked super sexy, that was pretty cool.”

Spears herself was feeling nostalgic recently about the performance, tweeting earlier this month, “Sometimes I wonder what this snake is up to these days… Anybody know where it’s at? Haha.”

Shortly after, she followed up, tweeting, “Snake update: I’ve heard she’s alive and well, and that her name is Banana! This makes me smile :)”

Of course, there have been many more unforgettable Video Music Award performances, and we want to know your favorite, so make sure you vote in our “VMA Epic Moments” poll, and watch the results on AMTV, Wednesday September 5.

Which performer will create a memorable performance at the 2012 Video Music Awards? Find out Thursday September 6, when Alicia Keys, Green Day, Frank Ocean and more take the stage.

The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards were a blast! Stick with MTV for all the VMA winners, fashion, and continued coverage of everything that happened onstage, backstage and behind-the-scenes.
Christina Garibaldi has been an on-camera reporter for MTV News since 2011. When not interviewing or writing about her favorite stars, she keeps herself busy with baby animal videos and boy bands.
@ChristinaMTV