10 things that happened at the mtv video music awards

Including i-D cover star Paris Jackson’s powerful speech about resisting violent white supremacists.

by Roisin Lanigan
29 August 2017, 4:14pm

It's the end of a long weekend and we're all back at work, mourning the summer and looking desperately for something to distract us. Luckily, from Notting Hill Carnival to the Game of Thrones finale, there's plenty to catch up on, including MTV's annual Video Music Awards. If you missed the actual ceremony and can't devote your entire day to deciphering the Twitter drama, breathless Instagram posts and endless YouTube videos of all the gossip and performances, don't worry -- we've got you.

With passionate speeches about acceptance and resistance, transgender military personnel invited as guests of honour, and the family of Heather Heyer (the protester who was killed in Charlottesville's anti-Nazi protest), it was a more emotional and political VMAs than in previous years, which made it all the more powerful.

Here's the lowdown on everything you missed. It's so detailed, you'll feel almost like you were there, rubbing shoulders with celebrities and asking to hold DJ Khaled's baby. The dream.

1. Kendrick cleaned up, obviously
From the moment he opened the show with a powerful, apocalyptic (think fire, brimstone and spontaneous human combustion) performance of DNA and HUMBLE, it seemed obvious that Kendrick Lamar was going to be the real star of the night. And he didn't disappoint, dominating the ceremony by winning six awards, including best video for HUMBLE.

Sit down, everyone else. Be Humble.

2. i-D cover star Paris Jackson gave a passionate speech about ending white supremacy
This year the VMAs weren't just an awards ceremony, they were a platform to communicate a message of change, tolerance and resistance. In a passionate speech, Paris Jackson told audiences around the world: "If we were all to put our voices together, imagine the difference we would make. If we were all to stand up, united, as one, our impact -- it would be huge."

"So let's leave tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi, white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the world that a national with liberty as our slogan has zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination," she continued, adding, "We must resist."

3. The mother of killed Charlottesville protester Heather Heyer spoke out against violence and racism
Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer (the anti-racism protester who was killed in Charlottesville) didn't want to talk to Donald Trump after her daughter died. But she did want to talk to the rest of the world, and she used to VMAs to do that. In her speech, Susan announced a new non-profit which will provide scholarships to those fighting against hatred. "Help me make Heather's death count," she said. "I want people to know that Heather never marched alone." Susan appeared alongside a descendant of the Confederate Army commander Robert E Lee, who spoke out against making his ancestor an idol of hate and bigotry. Campaigners in the US are petitioning to have Confederate statues, with some suggesting they should be replaced by statues of Missy Elliott.

4. Pink stole the show with her Annie Hall outfit and a poignant message for her daughter
Pink -- who was at the VMAs to pick up the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, and performed a medley of every song you danced around your room to as a moody preteen -- made the most of her moment by using her acceptance speech to make a powerful point about self-expression.

Talking about how her six-year-old daughter -- who looked adorable, matching her mum in identical Annie Hall-esque suits -- thought she was ugly and "looked like a boy," Pink praised androgynous artists including Prince, David Bowie and Janis Joplin, who celebrated individuality and inspired her. "We don't change -- 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," Pink said.

5. Nicki Minaj's jewellery probably costs more than your house
It's been seven years since Pink Friday, but Nicki Minaj still looked like a frosted Harajuku Barbie at the VMAs, from the baby pink spandex catsuit to the two-tone pastel hair to the seriously, seriously expensive, glitzy jewels. In fact her choker alone cost $1 million. Can someone ask her if I can borrow it?

6. DJ Khaled's kid already has a better wardrobe than most of us can ever hope for
Asahd Khaled, at just 10 months old, was carried into the VMAs wearing a Gucci ensemble costing more than most of us make in a month.

Specifically, this is how it broke down: $1,050 jacket, $670 pants, $260 white shirt, $275 leather shoes and $35 navy cotton socks. So a total of $2,290 overall. Can babies even walk -- in $275 leather Gucci shoes -- at 10 months?! Oh, and he's verified on Twitter.

7. Lorde looks good in everything, even a tinfoil dress
I don't know about you, but usually when I'm sick with the flu there's nowhere I'm planning to be other than in bed, under the covers, feeling sorry for myself. But then again, I'm not Lorde. While flu left the 20-year-old trooper unable to sing, she refused to pull a sickie and still put in an energetic performance, dancing along to her track Homemade Dynamite in a futuristic combo of grey tracksuit, Adidas Superstars and silver tinfoil-esque dress. So at least she was comfy I guess.

8. Fifth Harmony left everyone shook when they kicked an 'ex-bandmate' off the stage
When push comes to shove, it looks like the rest of Fifth Harmony aren't really that cut up about Camila Cabello's decision to leave the group for a solo career. At least, not if this video of them pushing a mysterious fifth band member off the stage just as their performance begins is anything to go by.

9. Jack Antonoff didn't think much of the party nibbles
So he brought his own banana from home…?

10. And the internet really wasn't happy about Katy Perry's 'wig snatch' moment
Last month, Katy Perry publicly apologised for any dodgy moments of cultural appropriation she'd experienced in her career, conceding "I've made several mistakes" and adding how a friend had explained to her the problematic history of white women adopting black hairstyles, as she did in her This Is How We Do video. "I listened, I heard and I didn't know," Katy said.

So when, after turning that corner, she made a joke about "snatching her wig" while hosting the VMAs, some people were… less than impressed.

This article was originally published by i-D UK.

Mtv Video Music Awards
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