Actress and singer Keke Palmer turned her hand to presenting last night, as she hosted the 2020 MTV VMAs in New York. And while the night was full of celebration and performances from the world's biggest stars, Keke also took the opportunity to address some important issues as she opened the show.
Meanwhile, she also dedicated the show to actor Chadwick Boseman, who sadly died last week after a four-year battle with cancer.
Starting the show with her powerful speech, Keke first acknowledged the "heroes" of the coronavirus pandemic:
"I gotta say it, 2020 has undoubtedly been a rough year for everybody, and I'm not just talking about my edges. In fact, when something goes wrong, I just say, '2020.' But, as rough as it's been, there have been incredible moments of inspiration that have given my generation hope.
"We've seen heroes going above and beyond, whether they drive a delivery truck, work at a grocery store, or serve on the front lines in a hospital. And with the Black Lives Matter movement, we've seen our generation step up, take to the streets, and make sure our voices will be heard."
Keke then went on to address the recent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake. She said:
"Enough is enough. What we just witnessed in Kenosha, Wisconsin is yet another devastating reminder that we can't stop, that we can never tolerate police brutality or any injustice. We must continue the fight to end systemic racism.
"The leaders of that movement are you, us, the people watching tonight. It's our time to be the change we want to see. We need to come together, and music—music has that power. Music can help us heal. It's all love and that's what tonight is about. We are making the impossible possible, pushing the boundaries of music performances, because that's what we do on the VMAs!"
In addition to her opening speech, Keke also dedicated the show to Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who sadly died last week after a private four-year battle with colon cancer.
Dedicating the show to "a man whose spirit touched so many", Keke said:
"Before we get to the music tonight, we need take the time to talk about the devastating loss of Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose talent and passion was a true inspiration to all the fans he touched and everyone he encountered. We dedicated tonight's show to a man whose spirit touched so many. He's a true hero, not just onscreen, but in everything he did. His impact lives forever."
The official VMAs Twitter account also tweeted, dedicating the show to Chadwick.
RIP Chadwick Boseman.— Video Music Awards (@vmas) August 31, 2020
Tonight's #VMAs is dedicated to him.
Meanwhile, The Weeknd also used his acceptance speech to address police brutality in the US, referencing the shooting of Jacob Blake and the killing of Breonna Taylor.
Collecting his award for video of the year for 'Blinding Lights', he said, "It's really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment. So, I'm just going to say, justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor."
Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like