The MTV Video Music Awards are always a spectacle and occasionally a catalyst for major pop culture upheaval.
Sunday evening’s results were a mixed bag, but from big winners to important societal statements, it was a worthwhile watch. Here are our five takeaways.
Everything’s Coming Up Kendrick
Kung-Fu Kenny was the night’s big winner, taking home six Moonmen, including Video of the Year for “Humble.” He set the night ablaze with a tremendous opening performance. The VMAs have always been a time capsule of that particular moment in music, and it’s fitting that the night began and ended with Kendrick.
Gucci Gets Grateful
In one of the night’s low-key touching moments, Gucci Mane won Best Pop Video honors for his collaboration with Fifth Harmony, and gave a genuinely humble brief speech about not having won anything before and not knowing what to say.
Khalid’s Coming Out
The story told throughout the VMAs was the journey that the two Best New Artists finalists Khalid and Julia Michaels took to the coveted MTV stage. With a push for final voting across social media during the broadcast, Khalid emerged with the Moonman, first thanking his home of El Paso, Texas. It solidified Khalid’s arrival after a standout performance on the pre-show and later collaboration with Logic.
Actually Poignant Politics
While there were several – often misguided – attempts at “#woke humor” throughout the night, the one actually moving moment was hearing from a descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The pastor spoke about the evils of white supremacy and what must be done to stop it. What followed was a heartbreaking speech from Susan Bro, the mother of slain activist Heather Heyer.
Logic’s Statement Against Suicide
But the moment that the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards will be most remembered for is rapper Logic using the platform to perform his track “1-800-273-8255” with Alessia Cara and Khalid, being joined on stage by suicide-attempt survivors. It was a strong unmissable statement to anyone out there who is suffering that they are not alone.