MTV Video Music Awards 2012: Fashion hits and misses for black stars

September 7, 2012

When it comes to fashion, you’ll see just about everything hit the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards — from the super chic to the overtly sexy to the downright weird. Over the years, celebrities have made it clear that the VMAs are the place to be adventurous with style. In 2009, Kanye West showed up in an extra-medium leather shirt accessorized with a bottle of Hennessy. Two years ago, Will.I.Am thought it was a good idea to wear blackface. And in 2011, Nicki Minaj struck a pose on the step-and-repeat looking like a psychotic cartoon character. Yes, just about anything goes.

This year’s festivities were broadcast live Thursday night from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and hosted by comedian Kevin Hart. While a few of the usual suspects decided to skip the show, including Jay-Z, Beyonce and even West (who is rumored to have backed out at the last night minute), the 2012 VMAs still had its fair share of fashion do’s and don’ts.

Here’s a round-up of the night’s fashion hits and misses:

The Hits


Rihanna arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards. (Matt Sayles/MATT SAYLES/INVISION/AP)

Still working the media blitz after a history-making gold medal performance at the summer Olympics, gymnast Gabby Douglas made the pre-show press rounds alongside her teammates looking cute and age-appropriate. The 16-year-old was all smiles dressed in a sequin black and gold body-con dress that she accessorized with black sandals and a metallic clutch. And yes, her hair was laid.

Chris Brown has been doing this scruffy-skater-hipster thing for a while now, but it looks like a stylist politely let him know that there would be no skinny jeans or cargo shorts worn to the MTV Video Music Awards this year. Despite the blue Mohawk the singer wore, he looked rather dapper accepting his award for Best Male Video while dressed in a silvery gray slim-fit pant suit styled with a skinny black tie, aviator sunglasses and lace-up loafers.

The always stylish Rashida Jones was edgy with a feminine touch. The actress presented the Best Hip-Hop Video award dressed in a sleeveless, V-neck black leather sheath dress and sky-high shoe booties. Jones kept her jewelry minimal and completed the look with a slicked back ponytail. For the everyday fashionista, this outfit seems like one that can be re-interpreted a variety of ways for fall.

Although he stands just 5’2,” Kevin Hart dressed the part as host of the 2012 Video Music Awards well. The comedian kept it trendy, opening the show in a black pant suit with tuxedo stripes, black tee and sneakers. A wardrobe change about mid-way through the show featured him wearing a leopard print blazer, black tee and jeans with sneaks. It was modern and totally in tune with the MTV audience.

The Misses

It’s clear that rapper 2 Chainz has yet to go through a proper media training session. As if the bedazzled/shimmering everything that he wore for his first VMA appearance wasn’t tacky enough, when asked during a red carpet interview about his outfit, the rapper quickly replied: “I’m wearing a car.” This was in reference to how much the designer leather jacket, pants, hat and overload of gold chains and diamond bracelets that he was wearing cost. Oh, the silly things people do and say when they’ve got new money.


Alicia Keys arrives at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Frederick M. Brown/GETTY IMAGES)

Zoe Saldana’s blush pink mini-dress and black strappy sandals were every bit of chic and nearly worthy of best-dressed accolades. But given the occasion, something about her outfit was a bit over-styled compared to some of the other VMA attendees. The actress’ overall appearance, including her hair and make-up, seemed more appropriate for something like a movie premiere and not the awards show of all awards shows for today’s pop culture generation.


Nicki Minaj arrives at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Frederick M. Brown/GETTY IMAGES)

Following Beyonce’s lead from last year, video-chick-turned-rapper-girlfriend Amber Rose officially announced her pregnancy alongside hubby-to-be Wiz Khalifa. The difference between Queen Bey and Rose’s “big reveal” looks was substantial. While Beyonce looked chic and glowed in a Grecian-inspired dress, Amber looked uncomfortable dressed in a sheer black and nude gown with a mock neck. She even said during a pre-show interview, “I’m hot and my feet hurt.”

Andrea N. Browne is a journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area with a penchant for great style.

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