After a decade of impact on music, pop culture, fashion, film and philanthropy, MTV has honored Rihanna with their most prestigious award at the 2016 Video Music Awards: the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
Drake took the stage present her with the award. During his introduction of her, Drake said he loved Rihanna.
He recalled the first moment he met the Barbadian singer — in 2005, while working as an extra on her "Pon de Replay" music video. He commended her fashion and her ability to remain true to herself.
"We love the music, which can change styles from album to album," he said. "We love the videos which change their artistic vision from year to year. But most of all, we love the woman who hasn't changed from day one."
He continued, "She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old. 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," he said as the crowd roared. "She's a living, breathing legend in our industry. Ladies and gentleman, the recipient of the 2016 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, Rihanna."
Rihanna, who couldn't hold back her ear-to-ear smile, then took the microphone to thank MTV and her fans. But she also wanted to take a moment to thank her country.
"This is such an amazing night. It's such an amazing moment in my career," she began. "When I think about the Vanguard Award and receiving this tonight, all I could think of was my country. They're going to be so proud This is the first Vanguard to land anywhere close to my country."
She continued, "My success, it started as my dream. But now my success is not my own. It's my family's. It's my fans'. It's my country's. It's the Caribbean as a whole. It's women, it's black women. So many people feel like they're little piece is such a major part of this puzzle. And I have to thank you guys for supporting me over and over."