Since their 1984 debut, the Video Music Awards are known for building a reputation as the home of some of modern music’s most memorable performances, shocking moments, and splashiest feuds. Thirty-three years later, the VMA’s continues to live up to that title.
Kendrick Lamar kicked off the performance with a few of songs and his hot set…but seriously, the stage was on fire. His stage and his backup dancers were completely engulfed in flames as Kendrick did his performance. The stunt work was amazing and thankfully no one was hurt. Following Kendrick’s performance, Katy Perry, the host for the event, started off the night with a few dry jokes. Her opening joke focused on her ‘detour to space’ and how on this journey she had missed the invention of fidget spinners and political chaos. Her hosting was overall cringeworthy, but the night was still young and there were another three hours of the show to get through.
One thing I do have to give MTV credit for is there constant breaks to address important worldly problems, despite it being a entertaining award show. Paris Jackson, daughter of the late Michael Jackson, spoke to the audience before presenting the best pop video. “Even in the apocalypse we deserve the best soundtrack.” She continued, “Let’s leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi, white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with ‘liberty’ as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination,” she said. “ We must resist!” Alongside this, Cardi B also stated her appreciation for Colin Kaepernick saying, “as long as you kneel, we’re kneeling with you.” The night seemed to be filled with patriotism and political conflict.
Heather Heyer, a young civil rights activist who was killed on August 12, when a car crashed into a crowd of counter protesters at the Charlottesville rally, mother paid tribute to her daughter at the Video Music Awards. After a powerful introduction by the Rev. Robert Wright Lee, a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate Civil War general whose statue was at the center of the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally earlier this month. he preached equality and acceptance before Bro took the stage to announce a non-profit organization founded in her daughter’s name. “Only 15 days ago, my daughter, Heather, was killed as she protested racism. I miss her, but I know she’s here tonight. I have been deeply moved to see people across the world, the whole world, find inspiration in her courage,” Bro said. “Today, I’m announcing the launch of the Heather Heyer foundation, a non-profit organization that will provide scholarships to help more people join Heather’s fight against hatred.”
On a less serious note, what’s the VMA’s without a celebrity feud. Fifth Harmony had one of the most entertaining performances including rain, mic drops, and a guest appearance of Gucci Mane while performing their hit song “Down.” Despite the amazing performance, the girls really caused a stir on social media because of what happened before the song started. Before starting the song, a hooded fifth member on stage dramatically fell off the stage leaving the four girls to continue their performance. The stunt appeared to be a dig at ex band member Camila Cabello, who left Fifth Harmony last year to pursue a solo career full time. The four members have not since commented on the dig, but it won’t be long until the truth is revealed.
After performing some of her biggest hits, P!nk accepted her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award with a heartfelt story about her six year old daughter, who was sitting in the crowd. She explained that her daughter worried she was ugly and “looked like a boy with long hair,” to which P!nk responded by making a PowerPoint presentations of rock stars like Prince and David Bowie. She told her daughter, “We don’t change, we tak gravel in the shell and make a pearl, and we help other people change so they can see more kinds of beauty. The speech was closed with an empowering message and eventually moved on into the rest of the show. Besides P!nk’s story, the second most heart wrenching performance was Logic’s suicide hotline song “1-800-273-8255.” The song sends a touching message to those struggling with mental health issues, but the reality of the message came into view on stage alongside Alessia Cara and Khalid. The stage was outlined with people who were survivors of suicide attempts making for a unforgettable performance. He finished his performance with a speech saying, “From racism, discrimination, sexism, domestic violence, sexual assault, and so much more; I don’t give a damn if you are black, white, or any color in between. I don’t care if you’re Christian, you’re Muslim, you’re gay, you’re straight, I am here to fight for your equality because I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equally and that is why we must fight. We must fight for the equality of every man, woman, and child regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual orientation.”
Overall. The VMA’s wasn’t entirely the best, but the performances and celebrity appearance made up for everything the award show was lacking. Here is a list of the Video Music Awards winners:
- Video of the Year:
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
- Song of Summer:
Lil Uzi Vert – “XO Tour Llif3”
- Artist of the Year:
- Best New Artist:
- Best Collaboration:
Zayn & Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)”
- Best Pop:
Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – “Down”
- Best Hip Hop:
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
- Best Dance:
Zedd and Alessia Cara – “Stay”
- Best Fight Against the System:
Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson – “Black SpiderMan”
- Best Cinematography:
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”