Inglewood became a temporary oasis of music royalty last weekend, as the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards returned to the Forum. The A-list event, hosted by Katy Perry, was a combination of intergalactic entertainment, explosive visual effects and political commentary.
It was very dramatic for sure, but these are dramatic times, as several artists and presenters reminded the viewing audience. Their messages were heard loud and clear—equality, justice, unity, peace, self-love, tolerance, and compassion for others.
The show opened with Kendrick Lamarr performing “DNA” and “Humble” in front of a literal backdrop of fire. Paris Jackson (Michael Jackson’s daughter) urged the audience to “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. We must resist.”
Accepting the prestigious Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, Pink took the opportunity to share a heartwarming story about her daughter and the importance of self-acceptance.
Perry descended onto the stage in a metallic moon suit and a half-funny monologue about how life on Earth seems to have changed since she left. “You all look so happy and helpful and peaceful. And it feels like since I’ve been gone you’ve figured out all the problems in the world right now and the world is doing so well, right?” she said sarcastically, setting the tone for one of the music industry’s biggest nights and platforms for free speech.
Logic, Khalid and Alessia Cara performed the heart-wrenching “1-800-273-8255” alongside suicide survivors, and the mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer declared all six nominees for Best Fight Against the System winners. The fact that there’s even a category for this award is a statement within itself.
Lamar had the most nominations this year, and brought home the most awards, including the coveted Video of the Year honor for “Humble.” Ed Sheeran also received a statue for Artist of the Year, the award that marked the first time male and female musicians went head-to-head in a category.
The night's big winners include Kendrick Lamar, Video of the Year; Ed Sheeran, Artist of the Year; Khalid, Best New Artist; Zayn & Taylor Swift, Best Collaboration; Fifth Harmony, Best Pop Song; Kendrick Lamar, Best Hip Hop; B Zedd and Alessia Cara, Best Dance; and Twenty-One Pilots, Best Rock. Best Fight Against the System winners include Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson, The Hamilton Mixtape, Big Sean, Alessia Cara, Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley, and John Legend.