Brandy wasn’t ‘verzuz’ anyone at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, but she just won the whole night! The legendary singer made her BBMA debut by performing a medley of hits — including one classic jam.
There was plenty of love for R&B during the 2020 Billboard Music Awards. The night featured performances from Alicia Keyes, En Vogue, and Kane Brown, but what really turned the event into an event was the appearance of the iconic Brandy! The 41-year-old Moesha actress and songstress performed at the BBMAs for the first time during the Oct. 14 ceremony, and she did not disappoint. and shared the stage with Ty Dolla $ign. She kicked it off with “Borderline,” before shifting to “No Tomorrow,” before closing it with that 90’s jam, “Almost Doesn’t Count.”
Brandy’s BBMAs debut was a short trip down memory lane for fans of late ‘90s R&B. “Almost Doesn’t Count” was first released in 1999, from her Never Say Never album. It peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The other songs in this medley — “Borderline” and “No Tomorrow” – were from B7, her 2020 album (and the first one since 2012’s Two Eleven). The album was described by Rolling Stone as Brandy “at her purest: an eclectic mix of modern and classic R&B sounds strung together by her distinctive, powerful voice.”
Issues with her label caused that eight-year hiatus after Two Eleven. She and the label settled in 2017, granting her full control of her creative career. “I really wanted to get myself in a place where I could feel I could be creatively free,” she told Rolling Stone. “That was very, very important to me. At first, I had to muster up enough courage to actually get that process going. I had to find that type of bravery, and I finally got to a place where I did, and I’m so grateful for that. Then I also wanted to be inspired in my music. I just didn’t want to start creating music and not feel inspired, not feel moved by life or the things that I was going through.”
Brandy also blessed fans this year by partaking in a Verzuz battle with her long-rumored rival Monica. The beef between Monica and Brandy has been a thing since 1998, after they released “The Boy Is Mind.” As two women in hip-hop, they were often compared and pitted against each other in public and the press. This would contribute to their low-key rivalry, even though they would reunite in 2012 for another duet, “It All Belongs To Me.”
With floating rumors of a physical fight at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, and alleged shade being thrown in interviews and online, Monica and Brandy put all to rest on Aug. 31. “I really am a straight shooter, and I really do admire what you do musically,” Monica said, per Complex, to which Brandy responded: “I just need you to know that I have the utmost respect for you, no matter the times where it seemed like I didn’t.”