Singer and rapper Doja Cat is 2020’s best new artist, according to MTV.
The singer, whose full name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, won the MTV Video Music Award for Push Best New Artist in a Sunday night ceremony that was taped in various locations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dlamini, who hails from California and is the daughter of a Jewish-American mother and a non-Jewish South African father, has risen to fame since the music video for her song “Moo” went viral in 2018. Her 2020 song “Say So,” which had a remix featuring the rapper Nicki Minaj, has spent 33 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, including as its top song.
She urged fans to “stay safe” and thanked her mother in her acceptance speech.
.@DojaCat won @Chime's #MTVPUSH Best New Artist at the 2020 #VMAs, and she had a very important thank-you to close! pic.twitter.com/thZC8d7YJC— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) August 31, 2020
Dlamini has had her share of controversy. In 2018, she came under fire for having used homophobic slurs on social media. She defended her use of the term before apologizing.
Then in May, social media users claimed that she was frequenting chat rooms where users employed racist language, and one of her earlier songs resurfaced that used a term used to mock Black victims of police violence. Dlamini later apologized and said she had not engaged in racist conversations online and that her usage of the racist term was an effort to “flip its meaning,” though she called it a “bad decision.”