Katy Perry led the way through the maze of sequins, stellar performances, major statements and ghosts of Taylor Swift past. The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards had it all.
Though the annual awards ceremony took a ratings hit—it was competing with the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones, after all—the show had the star power to prove that the event is still legit. In addition to host Katy Perry, the show also boasted a hefty guest list of celebrities including Ellen Degeneres, Heidi Klum, Alessandra Ambrosia, Hailee Steinfeld, Millie Bobby Brown, and more.
The performance lineup wasn’t too shabby either, featuring artists including Fifth Harmony, Miley Cyrus, Lorde, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, and more. Most notable was P!nk, who not only gave one of her quintessential out-of-this-world performances, but was also awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award by Ellen Degeneres.
In her acceptance speech, P!nk told an empowering story of how she helped her daughter improve her self-image. She stated that her six-year-old daughter told her on the way to school one morning that she thought of herself as the ugliest girl she’d ever seen because she felt like she looked too masculine. P!nk, after returning home from dropping her daughter off at school, decided to make a PowerPoint presentation for her daughter to show her a wide range of incredibly talented artists who presented themselves to the world in whatever way best served their own individual self-expression. She then explained to her daughter that “we don’t change…We help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty.”
Another moving moment during the ceremony happened when rapper Logic, along with Alessia Cara and Khalid, took the stage to give an emotionally-fueled performance featuring suicide-attempt survivors. They performed the song titled “1-800-273-8255,” which is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, and urged the audience and anyone watching at home to remember that they are not alone. Logic spoke about the need to fight for equality for everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or religion, saying, “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.”
This year’s MTV Video Music Awards seemed to touch on nearly every topic on the minds of the youth of America today and used music to spread the message of equality and peace. Though MTV has seen a significant decrease in viewership in recent years, the channel has its foundation in providing a platform for the younger generation, and if this year’s VMAs were any indication, MTV is returning to its roots as the voice of a generation.