The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards best moments and highlights can be condensed in just one phrase: “The spirit of the good old 80’s is back.” Unity, artistic fight for equality and inclusion, videos that speak of social issues and political statements were an emotional ride of the iconic 80’s and they were brought back to life in this year’s show.
The MTV VMAS was full of emotional political moments
Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” won video of the year, best hip-hop video, direction, cinematography, art direction and visual effects on Sunday at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Logic performed his inspirational song “1-800-273-8255,” named after the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He was joined onstage with suicide attempt survivors as well as singers Alessia Cara (best dance video winner) and Khalid (best new artist winner). Lyrics from Logic’s song include: “I don’t wanna be alive/I just wanna die today” and “I want you to be alive/You don’t got to die today.”
Kesha introduced the performance and also offered words of encouragement: “As long as you don’t give up on yourself, light will break through the darkness.”
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award
— OfficialWilly2.0 (@therealwill17) August 28, 2017
P!nk accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, telling the audience a story about her daughter, who was sitting in the audience with husband Carey Hart. Pink said her daughter recently told her that “I’m the ugliest girl I know … I look like a boy with long hair.”
Pink said she then showed her daughter images of performers such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, George Michael, Elton John and Freddie Mercury.
“You are beautiful and I love you,” Pink said to her daughter.
Bennington’s tribute: ‘Reach out. Share your thoughts’.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 28, 2017
Oscar winner Jared Leto, who is also the frontman of rock band 30 Seconds to Mars, remembered Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, who hanged himself in July. Leto also mentioned Chris Cornell, who hanged himself in May.
“I think about his band, who were really his brothers and I remember his voice,” Leto said of Bennington. “That voice will live forever.”
“Hear me now, you are not alone. There is always a way forward. Reach out. Share your thoughts. Do not give up,” Leto added.
Stance against hatred and political divisiveness
The night also featured political moments focused on the rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12 turned violent after Nazis and white nationalists opposed to the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee clashed with counter protesters. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car plowed into a crowd.
The Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, a descendent of Gen. Lee, told the audience: “As a pastor it is my duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.”
Heyer’s mother then entered the stage, telling the audience: “Only 15 days my ago, my daughter Heather was killed as she protested racism. I miss her but I know she’s here tonight.”
Bro then announced The Heather Heyer Foundation, and said the nonprofit will give out scholarships and “help more people join Heather’s fight against hatred.”
Paris Jackson also spoke out against hatred.
“We must show these Nazi white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville, and all over the country, that as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence and their hatred and their discrimination. We must resist,” Michael Jackson’s eldest daughter said before presenting an award.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 28, 2017
These are the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards best moments and highlights
— JANET WELCH (Baxter) (@janetaillia) August 28, 2017
Lamar’s performance kicked off the three-hour show – hosted by a forgettable Katy Perry.
He gave an explosive performance of “Humble” and “DNA,” backed by ninjas dancing near fire. But another rapper had the night’s most memorable and touching performance.
“Look What You Made Me Do”
the premiere of Swift’s video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” which featured the singer dressed like a zombie in one scene and surrounded by slithering snakes in another. The video for the track, rumored to be a diss toward Kanye West, also featured Swift in a tub of diamonds, a cat mask, and a car that crashed (she was holding a Grammy). The clip ended with a dozen of Swifts – in memorable outfits she’s worn in the past – portraying how the singer felt the media has portrayed her throughout the years.
Artist of the year
Ed Sheeran performed his hit, “Shape of You,” and was later joined by Lil Uzi Vert. Sheeran won artist of the year, a new award established after MTV eliminated gender categories like best male and female video.
Best pop video
Fifth Harmony, who lost a group member last year and released their first album as a foursome last week, won best pop video for “Down.” Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane of the group were in tears as they accepted the award alongside Normani Kordei and Lauren Jauregui.
“This is honestly so unreal. Thank you to God and thank you to our families,” Jane said.
Fifth Harmony started their performance standing on high platforms to sing “Angel,” then falling backward like superheroes. Then followed it with the upbeat “Down,” taking a break from singing to perform some intense choreography. Later, water rained on the four girls, who dropped their microphones at the end of the performance.
Video of the year
Lamar’s win for video of the year beat videos by Bruno Mars, DJ Khaled, the Weeknd and Cara. “Despacito,” which was snubbed in the video of the year category, lost the only award it was nominated for: song of summer. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s international hit is the most viewed video on YouTube and currently No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. MTV said Universal Music Latin Entertainment didn’t submit the video, while the record label said they weren’t asked to send in the clip.
Here’s the complete list of the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards
Winners of the MTV Video Music Awards, presented Sunday at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Video of the year: “HUMBLE.” Kendrick Lamar
Artist of the year: Ed Sheeran
Collaboration: “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” Zayn & Taylor Swift
Pop: “Down,” Fifth Harmony feat. Gucci Mane
Hip hop: “HUMBLE.” Kendrick Lamar
Dance: “Stay,” Alessia Cara & Zedd
Rock: “Heavydirtysoul,” Twenty One Pilots
Fight against the system: “Black SpiderMan,” Logic feat. Damian Lemar Hudson; “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” The Hamilton Mixtape; “Light,” Big Sean; “Scars to Your Beautiful,” Alessia Cara; “Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL,” Taboo feat. Shailene Woodley; “Surefire,” John Legend.
Song of summer: “XO Tour Llif3,” Lil Uzi Vert
New artist: Khalid
Art direction: “HUMBLE.” Kendrick Lamar (Production Designer: Spencer Graves)
Choreography: “Fade,” Kanye West (Choreographers: Jae Blaze, Guapo, Matthew Pasterisa, Teyana Taylor & Derek Watkins)
Cinematography: “HUMBLE.” Kendrick Lamar (Cinematographer: Scott Cunningham)
Direction: “HUMBLE.” Kendrick Lamar (Directors: Dave Meyers, The Little Homies)
Editing: “Wyclef Jean,” Young Thug (Editors: Ryan Staake, Eric Degliomini)
Visual effects: “HUMBLE.” Kendrick Lamar (Company: Timber/Lead: Jonah Hall)
These are the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards best moments and highlights. Enjoy photos and videos of this year’s show, and a complete list of MTV VMAS winners.