Alicia Keys truly has the range.
During the 2021 Video Music Awards on Sunday (September 12), the R&B legend took the stage with rapper Swae Lee at New York’s Liberty State Park for a performance of their recent collaboration, “Lala.” Lee stepped out first amid a sea of cobalt blue-clad dancers, and Keys followed suit in a glistening, form-fitting sequined gown.
Kevin Mazur/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ ViacomCBS
They moved and grooved to the soulful track until it was finished. Keys then sashayed over to a chandelier-lit piano for a solo rendition of “Empire State of Mind,” her hit collab with Jay-Z from 2009. She performed the iconic song to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the devastating September 11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center. (She and Jay-Z previously performed the song over a decade ago at the 2010 VMAs before snagging the Moonperson for Best Cinematography.)
Against the Manhattan skyline, Keys’s passionate tribute was a sight to behold.
Of course, Keys is no stranger to the VMAs stage. The 40-year-old songstress’s debut single, “Fallin’,” scored the artist her first Moonperson in 2001 for Best New Artist in a Video. She’s gone on to win three more VMAs from a total of 12 nominations and perform at multiple shows over the years.
The 2021 VMAs are airing live on MTV from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Find the full list of winners right here and keep up with all of the night’s biggest VMA moments!