MTV VMAs: Drake Presents Rihanna With the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award
"She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old," the rapper said at the podium before the "Work" singer accepted her lifetime achievement Moonman.
Rihanna was honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award during Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards.
Mary J. Blige introduced the singer as a "little girl from a small island whose dreams came true," commending the accomplishments of her 11-year career.
Rihanna, who performed a total of four times during the ceremony, took the stage to perform a stripped-down version of "Stay" and "Diamonds" before accepting the ceremony's lifetime achievement award.
Frequent collaborator and rumored beau Drake, making his first appearance of the night, stood at the podium to hand her the Moonman, recalling the very first time he met her years ago.
"When it comes to performance, they swarm in masses to be in her presence — obviously," the rapper said, motioning towards Rihanna, who glowed in a silver floor-length ensemble.
"She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old," Drake continued. "She's one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life, I've looked up to her, even though she's younger than me."
Rihanna, Moonman in hand, then began her speech, "My success, it started as my dream. But now, my success is not my own. It's my family's, my fans', my country's. It's the Caribbean as a whole, women, black women ... I have to thank you guys for supporting me over and over. Thanks to every director who's taken a chance on my crazy ideas."
She ended her speech by thanking Drake for his "amazing speech" and MTV for the award.
The "Work" singer dominated the show, opening the ceremony with a medley performance of her greatest hits, including "Don't Stop the Music," and "We Found Love," and making multiple appearances onstage thereafter.
Days before Rihanna accepted the Vanguard honor, Drake congratulated her achievement by buying a large billboard in Los Angeles that read "Congratulations to Rihanna from Drake and everyone at Ovo."
Past recipients of the award include Kanye West, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
The 2016 MTV VMAs took place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday evening.