Highlights from 2017 MTV VMAs
Kendrick Lamar went home with 6 awards for the culture.
1. Kendrick Lamar lit the stage, literally.
Kendrick kicked off the night with a stunt performer who was lit on fire, and in front of people climbing a fiery cargo net. Lamar’s rapping of “DNA” and “Humble” was just as lit! He went on to win six awards last night. Ed Sheeran, the night’s “Artist of the Year,” also played in front of fire, as did Pink!
2. Logic and Jared Leto got serious about suicide prevention.
Logic gave an emotional performance of “1-800-273-8255,” his song named for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, with Khalid (who won “Best New Artist”) and Alessia Cara (who also performed “Scars to Your Beautiful” and went home with the “Best Dance Video” award). After a number of suicide survivors joined him onstage, Logic addressed the audience: “I don’t care if you’re Christian, you’re Muslim, you’re gay, you’re straight… I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equal and that is why we must fight.” Jared Leto also brought up the topic of suicide when he paid tribute to the late Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park who was found dead in his California home in July. “If there is anyone out there who is watching this tonight who feels like there is no hope, hear me now: You are not alone,” Leto said, after remembering his friend. “Witnessing (Chester Bennington’s) life taught me important things, especially about working relentlessly, pursuing dreams and being kind and caring while doing it.”
3.Heather Heyer’s mom got a standing ovation.
The only person that got a bigger standing ovation than Logic was Heather Heyer’s mother. Susan Bro, whose daughter was one of the protesters killed protesting against the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., took center stage after she was introduced by a descendent of Robert E. Lee, Robert Lee IV, who said, “As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.” Bro announced that all VMA nominees in the new “Fight Against the System” category were winners which included Logic and Damian Lemar Hudson for “Black SpiderMan” (Race & LGBTQ), the Hamilton Mixtape for “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” (Immigration), Big Sean for “Light” (Race), Alessia Cara for “Scars To Your Beautiful” (Body image), Taboo and Shailene Woodley for “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” (Environment) and John Legend for “Surefire” (Immigration & Anti-Muslim hate).
4. Fifth Harmony caused drama.
Fifth Harmony threw shade at their former band member. At the start of their set, the group appeared on a platform with one hooded figure — a Camila Cabello stand-in, perhaps? — who immediately fell backward off stage. On Twitter, the move was widely considered a jab at Cabello, their former bandmate who left the group earlier this year to pursue a solo career. The rest of 5H’s performance saw the ladies all eventually falling backward off of the stage, breaking out of glass boxes and dramatically dancing in the rain.
5. Pink shared a beautiful message about beauty.
Pink delivered a moving medley of songs Sunday from the stage, the audience and even from a flying car. But the most memorable part of Pink’s appearance at the VMAs was her speech about beauty and self image. After Ellen DeGeneres presented her with the “Video Vanguard Award,” she told a story about how her daughter, Willow, saw herself as “ugly” by society’s standards. “Baby girl, we don’t change,” said the singer, who explained that she’s dealt with being called “masculine” and “too strong” throughout her own life. “We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty.”
6. New Miley Cyrus and no Taylor Swift
Though Taylor Swift’s video for “Look What You Made Me Do” premiered on the show, the singer, herself, didn’t even show up to accept her best collaboration award with Zayn Malik (who was also absent). Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, was there, but it was the new toned-down Cyrus who sang a vocally-demanding “Younger Now” with several dancing seniors.
7. Abundance of anti-Trump jokes.
Here’s something TV viewers didn’t see: YG & Nipsey Hussle’s performance for “F*%k Donald Trump” aired during one of the show’s commercial breaks. But that’s probably not a big surprise, considering the show was peppered with political jabs from Katy Perry on topics such as “Handmaid’s Tale” and her hope of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency. Unfortunately, much of the MC’s one-liners didn’t make it on TV. Her jokes about getting a baby just for the social media likes, snatching her own wig off and saying she was “shooketh” by a performance, and sort-of-but-not-really spoiling the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale were met with silence, if not some groans. Her best moment was probably when she closed the show with her song, “Swish Swish.” She went from singing on a giant, manicured hand to flying through the air and shooting a basket. It’s too bad her overall hosting job wasn’t a slam dunk.
Photograph via Yahoo