The Los Angeles-born singer, born Amala Dlamini, took the VMAs stage for the first time on Sunday to perform “Say So” and “I Like It.” She was tapped to perform alongside Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, The Weeknd, BTS, Maluma and many more. The ceremony, hosted by Keke Palmer, was held in New York City.
The 2020 VMAs was a big night for Doja. Not only did she rock her performance, but the 24-year-old “Freak” artist was nominated in four categories: Song of the Summer, Best Direction, Push Best New Artist and Song of the Year.
Earlier this month, Doja expressed how “extremely excited” she was to be a part of the award show despite how “different” it would be amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not the classic experience of the VMAs. But it’s a blessing to do a full production,” she said during her YouTube collab with James Charles on August 11, adding that it would be “really, really, really cool.”
Ahead of the “Cyber Sex” hitmaker’s VMAs performance, she made a big splash on social media when her song “Say So” featuring Nicki Minaj became popular among TikTok users. It also scored Doja her first number one hit on the Billboard charts in May.
“The song is a bop. It’s really changed my life as far as — I’ll make a song, and people even in the YouTube comments will be like, ‘Oh, let’s hope TikTok doesn’t ruin this one,’” she said in Charles’ YouTube video earlier this month. “So, I feel like my whole career has become based around it.”
Though Doja hit some major milestones in 2020, she also experienced some bumps along the way. In late May, she was accused of engaging in racist behavior in chat rooms. She ultimately denied this, noting in a statement that this was “not my character and I’m determined to show that to everybody moving forward.”
Doja also revealed in July that she had battled coronavirus. “I got COVID,” she said on U.K.’s Capital XTRA. “Honestly, I don’t know how this happens but I guess I ordered something off of Postmates, and I don’t know how I got it but I got it. I’m OK now. It was a four-day symptom freak-out but I’m fine now.”