“And they said we wouldn’t last, but we are still here, motherfuckers!”

With those words, Madonna opened the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, which along with her iconic 40-year career as the Queen of Pop, is also celebrating the network’s four-decades-long anniversary.

The pop legend nodded to her own arrival in New York City as a young aduly with an opening segment. “I told the taxi driver to take me to the center of it all,” says Madonna in a voice over while riding the cab to Times Square. “I came to New York City with nothing but 35 dollars and a pair of dance shoes. … I was 19 and terrified.”

Celebrating MTV’s birth, Madonna continued: “Forty years ago, another underdog arrived in New York City hoping to create something revolutionary and all music channel premiered in the middle of the night and called itself MTV. We found each other and from from then on changed my life, changed music and created a new art form. That’s why there’s only one place to be tonight.”

Dressed in a classic Burberry trench coat and Louboutin’s, Madonna took over Times Square with dozens of LED billboards playing her most-loved music videos — including “Like a Prayer” and “Vogue”– in tribute to both her own success and that of MTV, which helped her pave the way to becoming the best-selling female artist of all time.

Lazy loaded image
Courtesy of High Rise PR

For her onstage appearance, Madonna was wearing an Atsuko kudo crop jacket, latex bra and latex corset; a Moschino leather apron; Christian louboutin pumps; Handsome Stockholm leather gloves and rings by Neil Lane.

Madonna also unveiled a new teaser trailer for her upcoming concert film, “Madame X,” which will be available to stream on Paramount Plus on Oct. 8, shortly after her appearance.

One of the most decorated VMA stars, bringing home 20 awards throughout her tenure, Madonna is known for iconic performances, including her first VMA performance where she sang her Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Like A Virgin,” rolling around in a white wedding dress. Madonna was nominated for Best New Artist Video (Borderline) at the 1st annual MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, New York, N.Y.

Other iconic performances include the 1990 VMAs where the star performed “Vogue,” where she brought Black and Latinx ballroom culture and voguing to mainstream pop culture. At the 1991 Oscars, Madonna performed “Sooner Or Later,” where she took inspiration from Marilyn Monroe — with her date, the late Michael Jackson in the audience. In 2003, Madonna again shocked audiences as she kissed both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera — who were singing “Like A Virgin” with her on stage.

Watch the teaser for “Madame X” below.