(CBS) – The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards air this Sunday night at 8:00PM EDT. Returning to Brooklyn, The Barclay’s Center will be home to this year’s awards and fans will be back in attendance.
MTV’s Dometi Pongo will be holding down the red carpet amongst other duties during the awards. CBS’ Matt Weiss caught up with Pongo for the inside scoop on this weekend’s awards.
MW: Dometi excited to talk to you today man! First of all, how did you get linked up with the VMAs and what was your reaction when they came to you and offered you the opportunity?
DP: Ah man, I’ve been with MTV News since December 2018 and I was over the moon when I got the opportunity to work for the network that has shaped pop culture around me for so long. I grew up on the Sways and Suchin Paks and the Kurt Loders and the crazy thing about it I didn’t even have cable growing up.
I used to have to run to a friend’s house in order watch MTV so it was an extra special treat. My first red carpet for MTV was the MTV Movie and TV awards; I’ve been addicted ever since. Some of the work that I do in journalism is so heavy. When you get a chance to talk about your favorite albums its a treat.
MW: You’re a huge music fan, who are some of your favorite artists that really influenced you growing up?
DP: Jay-Z. It’s almost cliche to say, he influences everybody. I’m really a fan of Jay-Z. There’s a rapper out in Philly, the Roots, Black Thought of the Roots who plays the house band for one of the late-night shows. I actually have a Black Thought tattoo on my arm says how much I love him.
It says, “my journalistic range is a catalyst for change,” that’s one of my favorites. But as for those that are performing in the show, Polo G. a young artist from Chicago, who I’m glad to see has transcended drill music and is now making hits that transcend culture and got him to the VMA stage, so I’m excited to see that kid perform. I love Kacey Musgraves she’s premiering Star Crossed performing Sunday night. It’s a lot going on this week.
MW: You mention Jay-Z which brings things full circle. The VMAs are taking place in New York this year. What does that mean to you to have that energy that the city provides?
DP: I think it’s particular significant that we’re back in Brooklyn, back at Barclays, the day after the 9/11 20th anniversary but also in a time when we’re dealing with COVID-19 and we’re figuring out a way to safely move forward.
Everyone wants to get reacclimated and see what this new normal feels like. Beyond the show and the entertainment, there’s also this air of, ok how do we do this, what does work look like, what does fun look like, what do concerts look like. It’s great to know that all the folks here will be fully vaccinated. Talent, us folks backstage are getting tested every other day.
Its’ significant on multiple levels especially because of everything New York has gone through. Right at the onset of the pandemic I was talking to first responders, and they went through a lot. This is kind of a homecoming for a lot of folks right now.
This is going to be one of the biggest shows ever because not only are we commemorating 20 years since 9/11 but it’s also the 40th anniversary of MTV the brand, the network. We’ll be celebrating that.
We’ve got to commemorate that. Then you have a personality like Doja Cat hosting. She is unhinged, unfiltered, hilarious, crazy, exciting, all of the things, hosting and performing. I think it’s going to be one for the books.
MW: What are you most excited about for your own role? What’s something you can’t wait to do on the night of?
DP: I’m looking forward to Chloe of Chloe x Halle step out on her own. It’s funny because she was a newer act. A lot of folks are probably more excited for the Foo Fighters and Billie Eilish; I’m excited for them as well, I love Billie. But I’m really excited to see Chloe come into her own and perform solo for the first time.
Had a phenomenal performance in years past at the VMAs, so I can’t wait to see what she brings this year. That’s the one I’m on the edge of my seat for.
I’m also looking forward to Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker with Papercuts, when I looked at that video, it’s probably one of the most jarring videos of the year. I can’t imagine what the stage design is going to look like.
You got The Kid LAROI performing with Justin Bieber, Stay. Justin leading the pack with 9 nominations. I’m just excited who takes home video of the year, artist of the year. Artists, I’m rooting for Megan Thee Stallion. I’m excited for it all. I can’t even pick one thing.
MW: It will be a party in Brooklyn for sure. Thank you so much for the time and all the best with the show!
DP: Thank you so much and I’m going to invite everyone to follow us at MTV News and we’ll be reporting from the red carpet. You’ll see some of my conversations with some of the night’s biggest stars, so I can’t wait to see you guys there!
The VMA Awards come to MTV Sunday, September 12th at 8:00PM EDT. Check your local listings for more information.