The 2015 VMAs were jam-packed with jaw-dropping moments, from the return of (a crying) Justin Bieber to Macklemore's first performance of his new single to Kanye's presidential announcement. But the onstage spat between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus was probably the most shocking and talked about.
"I saw [Miley] just looking at me, with her face screwed up, and I thought, What the!" Nicki explained to The New York Times Magazine, about the moment, in a new cover story.
But it was deeper than just the fact that Miley was looking at her a certain way.
“The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects black women makes me feel like you have some big balls,” she said. “You’re in videos with black men, and you’re bringing out black women on your stages, but you don’t want to know how black women feel about something that’s so important? Come on, you can’t want the good without the bad."
"If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us," she continued. "You shouldn’t not want to know that.”
This all started over the summer, when Nicki voiced her displeasure with "Anaconda" being left out of the Video of the Year category at the VMAs, Taylor Swift took it as an affront directed at her (her "Bad Blood" was nominated in the category, and ended up winning), and responded directly on Twitter.
The fallout that followed -- more tweets, general public backlash to Taylor's response, and a reconciliation onstage at the VMAs in August -- also included an interview that Miley gave with the Times just days before the show, where she weighed in on the topic.
"What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind," she said. "It’s not very polite. I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war. It became Nicki Minaj and Taylor in a fight, so now the story isn’t even on what you wanted it to be about. Now you’ve just given E! News 'Catfight! Taylor and Nicki Go at It.'"
It was with that backdrop that Nicki called out Miley, while they stood on separate parts of the stage but not far apart, after accepting the award for Best Hip-Hop Video for "Anaconda."
"And now, back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press the other day," she fired, before delivering one of pop culture's standout moments of 2015, the soon to be shared and memed, "Miley, what’s good?"