This year’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) may have looked a lot different than in past years.
With no live audience, artists accepting awards remotely through videos, and even some newly added award categories like “best music video from home” and “best quarantine performance,” it was just as entertaining as always.
This year’s host, Keke Palmer, started off the show by dedicating the night to Chadwick Boseman after he recently passed away from colon cancer. The show seemed to be filmed on a sound stage with a green screen depicting New York City skyscrapers filled with “people” to make it feel as if there was an audience present. Performances by Miley Cyrus, The Weeknd, DaBaby, Doja Cat and many more were extra special in order to compensate for the artists who were unable to perform live this year. They were able to create a hybrid of stage performance with back up dancers and music videos with special effects, something the VMAs had not been able to do in previous years on a live stage.
One of the most iconic performances of the night was Lady Gaga, singing a mashup of four of her songs, including “Rain On Me” featuring Ariana Grande. Gaga also ended the night with five new moon men to add to the many awards she has received throughout her career. One of these awards was the VMAs first ever Tricon Award. She was given this award not only because of her musical talent, but because of her success in TV and film, her iconic red carpet looks that have influenced people in all industries to push boundaries with their work. The awards also honored her philanthropy in starting the “Born This Way Foundation” and for being an open activist and ally for the LGBTQ+ community. She ended her acceptance speech by urging the audience to wear a mask saying, “It’s a sign of respect.”
Lady Gaga was not the only artist who used the night to speak out about important causes. Several other artists spoke up about wearing masks, police brutality, injustice and registering to vote. There was a sense of urgency that filled the TV screen throughout the entire night, with every artist and presenter united in fighting for these issues. These artists were thankful for the awards they received but it mattered much more to them that they use their platform to speak out. One presenter also announced that Pepsi had donated $100,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The MTV VMA awards presented a new category called “Video for Good” which was presented to H.E.R. for “I Can’t Breathe.” The 2020 MTV VMA Awards was a special night for music and an influential night for social justice.
We often think that the VMAs are a chance for artists to get recognized for their work. While this is true, it is also important to recognize the people who support the artists in their careers.
This year, the VMAs took a moment to pay tribute to all of the healthcare workers who have put themselves at risk in order to help the country overcome the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. They showed a montage of videos of healthcare workers who have used music to get through the tough times the country has been going through. MTV did a really good job of taking an unexpected challenge and turning it into one of the most powerful and impactful awards shows we have ever seen.