Anitta was all smiles on the red carpet, ahead of the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday (Sept. 12). The Brazilian megastar exuded old Hollywood elegance in a Miss Sohee gown, channeling her equally classic single “Girl From Rio,” which she performed for the show. Anitta’s “Girl From Rio” samples the 1964 Brazilian-made worldwide hit, “The Girl From Ipanema.” The latter is one of the most recorded songs in history.
“I think everybody in Brazil has this ‘Girl From Ipanema’ vibe in their blood. It’s a historic moment for Brazil, the song and everything it represents,” she told Billboard on the red carpet.
The VMAs mark Anitta’s first major mainstream award show appearance, outside of Latin genres. In her performance, Anitta starts off in a casual at-home getup before twirling on stage in a sparkling pink and black jumpsuit. “For me, it’s amazing to be the first Brazilian [performing] here at the VMAs, the whole country today is going crazy.”
While the artist achieved superstar status in her native country long ago, she continues to rack up boast-worthy international collaborations, including with artists such as J Balvin, Cardi B, Maluma and DaBaby, steadily growing her reach and influence around the world.
“It’s very hard coming from Brazil to the Latin audience, people think it’s the same thing and it’s not. We speak Portuguese, it’s a completely different culture,” she says. “A bunch of people that are famous in Brazil nobody in the Latin world knows and vice versa.”
Not only does Anitta aspire to top the charts in both Spanish and English genres, she plans to bring Brazil’s “baile funk” genre along for the ride. “I feel like it’s already happening and I feel very proud of it,” she says of funk music spreading beyond Brazil’s borders. “A lot of people say I’m responsible in my country. I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ll take it!'”
Check out Anitta’s VMAs performance below: