Although this year’s VMA’s was wildly different from years previous, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any incredible moments for us to enjoy throughout the show. The VMA’s was the first major awards broadcast to broadcast since the coronavirus pandemic. However, from extraordinary performances to dazzling red carpet looks, this socially distanced edition of the VMA’s still had it all.
Keke Palmer hosted the event from an outdoor set somewhere near the Empire State Building, and the ceremony began with a pre-recorded video honouring Chadwick Boseman, whom tragically died at age 43 on Friday. Boseman was “a true hero”, said Palmer, “not just on screen, but in everything he did”.
As the night continued the awards were handed out, and it was none other than pop heavyweight, Lady Gaga who dominated by picking up no less than five awards, including the newly added Tricon award. Tricon award recognises an artist who is highly accomplished across three or more disciplines). Other winners included The Weeknd for best video for blinding lights, Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage for best hip hop, Taylor Swift for best direction for The Man, Maluma’s Que Pena for best Latin, On by BTS for best pop and Doja Cat for the best new artist. Some other awards were added to fit these strange times with the categories best music video from Home which went to Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande and best Quarantine Performance which was awarded to CNCO.
As always, the performances were nothing short of spectacular. The Weeknd opened up the show with a spectacular performance of “Blinding Lights” over 1000ft in the air on top of a Manhattan Skyscraper. At the same time, fireworks explode over the water behind him. Doja Cat performed hits like ‘Say So and “Like That” while dressed in a scaled iridescent catsuit, surrounded by a colourful otherworldly set. Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga both wore face masks during their performances after Lady Gaga said “I might sound like a broken record, but wear a mask, it’s a sign of respect” during her awards speech. Other notable performances included BTS, Jack Harlow and Miley Cyrus who referenced her “Wrecking Ball” video from seven years ago by riding a disco wrecking ball this time around at the back end of her performance.
Throughout the night there were many calls for unity and racial justice with Palmer stating that the unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others have demonstrated that young people will “step up, take the fight to the streets and make sure they’re heard.” Rapper DaBaby performed Rockstar while standing on a police car with a sign saying, “stop killing us” and The Weeknd, during a subdued acceptance speech, said, “like I said, hard to celebrate, so I’m just going to say: justice for Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor”.
The night ended on a good note with The Black Eyed Peas performing 2010’s “I’ve Got A Feeling” which had us all reminiscing of better times and Will.i.am had the final words of the night with “I know it’s tough right now, but we’ve gotta keep the love alive” while finishing with “Wakanda forever. Black lives matter”.
Words by Chris Saunders