The MTV Video Music Awards included wins for singer Beyonce, who was also honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, while Miley Cyrus, 5 Seconds of Summer, and others also took home awards.
Beyonce took the stage at the end of the show and was widely acknowledged as having delivered one of, if not the, best performances of the night, with the Guardian calling her performance a “show-stopper… [she] brought the house down” and Associated Press writer Mesfin Fekadu writing that she was “the reigning queen… her performance easily outdid her competition throughout the night.”
Social issues were also addressed during the show, with rapper Common, who was giving out the award for best hip-hop video, speaking about the situation in Ferguson, Mo. Common asked that the crowd have a moment of silence.
“Hip-hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change, from Melle Mel to Public Enemy to Kendrick Lamar,’’ he said, according to the Associated Press. ‘‘Hip-hop has always been presented a voice for the revolution.”
MTV also aired a short clip that included a quote by writer James Baldwin that said, “Nothing can be changed until it is faced.” “It's a call to action to our audience that we have to confront our own bias head-on before we can truly create change,” MTV president Stephen Friedman told the AP.
In addition, Cyrus sent someone else on stage for her when she won the video of the year award for her song “Wrecking Ball.” The man introduced himself as Jesse and said, “I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost, and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I am one of these people. Though I may have been invisible to you in the streets, I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight."
Beyonce, who also won the best cinematography prize for her song “Pretty Hurts” and the video with a social message award for the same song, was given her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award by her husband Jay-Z, who joined her onstage with their daughter Blue Ivy.
“I have nothing to say, but I'm filled with so much gratitude,” Beyonce said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I thank God for this moment. I love y'all.”
Other winners included the group Fifth Harmony taking the artist to watch award, Ed Sheeran winning the best male video award for his song “Sing,” Katy Perry winning best female video for the song “Dark Horse,” and 5 Seconds of Summer winning best lyric video for their song “Don’t Stop.”