NEW YORK (AP) â Lady Gaga cleaned house at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, while The Weeknd took home the top prize â and both pop stars sent important messages to viewers about the current state of the world: âWear a maskâ and âJustice for Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor.â
Gaga won multiple honors Sunday, most of them for her No. 1 hit with Ariana Grande, âRain on Me,â which the pop stars performed live for the first time.
âWear a mask. Itâs a sign of respect,â Gaga said during one of her several appearances onstage as she accepted awards like artist and song of the year.
With an electronic mask, Gaga performed a medley of her songs, including âStupid Love,â âChromatica IIâ and â911.â She and Grande were joined by a number of background dancers all wearing masks.
The Weeknd, the first performer of the night, paid tribute to Blake and Taylor â two Black people who died after being shot by police officers â after winning video of the year and best R&B for âBlinding Lights.â
âItâs really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so Iâm just going to say: justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor,â he said.
The VMAs kicked off with another touching moment, as host Keke Palmer told viewers the show was dedicated to Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday after privately battling colon cancer for four years at age 43.
âWe dedicate tonightâs show to a man whose spirit touched so many. Heâs a true hero, not just on-screen,â Palmer said. âHis impact lives forever.â
The Black Eyed Peas, who closed the two-hour-plus show with Nicky Jam and Tyga, ended their set by saying, âBlack Lives Matter.â And R&B star H.E.R. won the video for good award for her protest anthem about police brutality and systemic racism, âI Canât Breathe.â
But most of the show was dedicated to fun performances â some pre-taped, some filmed in various locations in New York City.
Pop all-stars BTS, who won multiple awards including best pop and best group, were top-notch during a pre-taped performance, which featured their signature, skilled choreography. The seven band members danced and sang in sharp suits, at some points with the backdrop of Times Square behind them.
The VMAs, originally supposed to be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, featured Colombian singer and best Latin winner Maluma singing from Brooklyn, while The Weeknd performed from Manhattan.
DaBaby, backed by the dance crew Jabbawockeez, ran through several of his hits, including âRock Star.â During the latter track, he rapped while jumping on top of a police car, with a burning city as his backdrop. Doja Cat, who was named Push best new artist, gave a futuristic performances of her hits âSay Soâ and âLike That.â
Other performers included Latin boy band CNCO and Miley Cyrus, who ended her performance of âMidnight Skyâ by sitting a top of a large disco ball, replicating like her viral âWrecking Ballâ clip from 2013.
As for top honors, Grande was behind Gaga with multiple wins. Her No. 1 duet with Justin Bieber, âStuck with U,â won best music video from home â one of two new awards MTV established as artists have made shifts because of the pandemic. CNCO won best quarantine performance for âMTV Unplugged at Home.â And Taylor Swift won best direction for âThe Man.â
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