Nicki Minaj paid tribute to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston in VMA speech  

Nicki Minaj paid tribute to artists who have inspired her when she was presented with the Video Vanguard Award at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.

"I wrote this down, I don't know why, but this was in my spirit to say: I wish that Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were here," 

Minaj began. "I wish that people understood what they meant and what they were going through. ... I wish Pop Smoke and Juice Wrld and Nipsey Hussle were here. 

R.I.P. Daddy, my cousin Richard, and my business manager Angela, who I never got to say 'rest in peace' to publicly."

She also talked about mental health, saying, "I wish that people took mental health seriously — even for the people that you think have the perfect lives."

Minaj, who was one of the co-hosts of the event with LL Cool J and Jack Harlow, accepted the award after performing a medley of her hits, including her new single "Super Freaky Girl."

Minaj credited Lil Wayne, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill and Jay-Z for inspiring her work, and she thanked some of her past collaborators like Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Eminem, Britney Spears and Rihanna.