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Alicia Keys Says She Forgives Lil Mama For Crashing Her and Jay-Z's 2009 VMA Performance

By Kiani Belgrave

JAY-Z and Alicia Keys crafted an all-time classic New York City anthem with their 2009 hit single, “Empire State of Mind.” The song was everywhere the year of its release, prompting a homecoming performance at the 2009 Video Music Awards in New York’s Radio City Music Hall. 

A then 19-year old Brooklyn native, Lil Mama, got the spirit of the city as her NYC counterparts performed their ambitious anthem on the Radio City stage. Notoriously, the “Lip Gloss,” emcee stormed the stage, spontaneously crashing Hov and Key’s VMA performance. 

As she served as guest host for Morning Hustle on Wednesday (October 20), Keys revealed she’s forgiven Lil Mama for crashing their show and admitted she didn’t even realize the “Lip Gloss” rapper was on stage until after the show.

“Listen, to this day, I truly never knew she was even on the stage — that’s the craziest part of the whole thing for me,” she said. “I was on that stage, [JAY-Z] was in the middle, she was on the other side of Jay, and I never saw her.”

Keys explains that she understands why Lil Mama would be moved by the record as a native New Yorker. 

“That was wild to me,” Keys admitted. “She’s from New York, too. I think she really felt the energy of the record and she loved it and she couldn’t hold herself back. Look, this is what my music does to people. What can we say?”

In 2009, Lil Mama addressed the infamous show crashing moment, admitting she “got emotional,” during Jay and Key’s performance. “I felt like, ‘Yeah, New York, Jay!’ I started to feel him and feel myself. I started to feel the energy and I got up and started walking toward the stage. I got up and was rooting him on as a champion for bigging up my brother. If any way JAY-Z or Alicia Keys felt offended, I want to apologize to both of you. I actually would like to have a one-on-one.”