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Normani Referenced Janet Jackson, TLC, Aaliyah in Iconic VMAs Performance

Normani performed her recent hit “Wild Side” at VMAs 2021, and she didn’t miss an opportunity to pay homage to one of pop music’s greats: Janet Jackson.

The “Motivation” singer finished her MTV Video Music Awards performance by recreating the signature lap dance Janet would give fans while performing “Would You Mind” live. Fans recognized the reference immediately, praising Normani for recreating the moment with Teyana Taylor — and pulling off some very difficult choreo while she’s at it. “Normani studied Janet and did her homework,” one fan wrote.

Janet wasn’t Normani’s only major influence during her “Wild Side” performance. Fans noted that she sampled Aaliyah, and she also wore an outfit reminiscent of TLC’s from the “No Scrubs” video. With Ciara as her performance presenter and the Teyana Taylor cameo, Normani successfully highlighted a vital selection of popular music, cementing herself among the greats once and for all.

Normani is well aware everyone is waiting on her debut album, but as always, she’s acting with intention. “There’s so much expectation that I have for myself, so adding [fans’ expectations] onto that can be a lot, but it really does motivate me,” she told Teen Vogue back in October 2020. “I really want to create a body of work that’s going to count, you know? I’m never going to get my first album back.”

Check out the fan reactions to Normani’s “Wild Side” performance below.

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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Normani Is Charting New Territory — Rooted In Relatability

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