Cardi B. Picture: AP

Cardi B returned to public life for the first time since giving birth at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday, August 20.

The 25-year-old rapper - who welcomed daughter Kulture, her first child with husband Offset, into the world last month - walked the red carpet at New York's Radio City Music Hall in a low-cut purple dress, before opening the show with a funny sketch.

She stepped out onto the stage in a red gown, cradling what appeared to be Kulture wrapped in a pink blanket - only to then reveal she was actually carrying one of the VMA's famous Moon Person statuettes.

She said: "Welcome to New York everybody, I am the empress, the liberals voted for me.

"It's a full house, no wonder my internet going slow, ya taking all the service.

"But anyway, I got a new surprise for you, you know what I'm saying."

As she unwrapped the blanket to reveal the award, she welcomed the audience to the VMAs and introduced the night's first performer, Shawn Mendes.

The 'Bodak Yellow' hitmaker had been the night's most nominated artist with 12 nods, and she took home three prizes, Song of Summer for 'I Like It', her collaboration with Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, Best Collaboration, which went to Jennifer Lopez's 'Dinero', on which Cardi featured with DJ Khaled, and Best New Artist.

As she accepted her Best New Artist accolade, she proudly proclaimed she had defied her critics.

She said: "I'm so happy to receive this award. A couple of months ago, a lot of people were saying, 'You're gambling your career, you're about to have a baby, what are you doing?' And you know, I had a baby, I carried the baby, and now I'm still winning an award!"

Cardi B arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

She then went on to thank her fans, friends, and family for their support.

She added: "All the love ... it's genuine, it's beautiful, and that's something that God give me that you can't buy. B***h!"

Bang Showbiz