The MTV Video Music Awards kicked off with a special dedication to the late actor Chadwick Boseman.
The “Black Panther” star has died at the age of 43 after a years-long battle with colon cancer, a statement on his official social media confirmed on Friday.
At the start of the show, host Keke Palmer offered a brief video message in honor of the actor.
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“Before we get into music tonight, we have to talk about the devastating loss of Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose talent and passion are a true inspiration to all the fans he touched and all he has. met, ”she said.
She added, “We dedicate tonight’s show to a man whose spirit touched so many people. He is a real hero. Not just on screen, but in everything he’s done. Its impact is eternal. ”
News of the actor’s death confirmed that his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, was by his side when he died.
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“A true fighter, Chadwick has persevered through it all and brought you many films that you have come to love so much,” his family said in the statement. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several others – have all been filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. “
The “Hustlers” actress also touched on the Black Lives Matter movement during her introduction.
“As difficult as it was, there were some incredible inspiring moments that gave hope to my generation,” said Palmer, 27. “We’ve seen heroes go above and beyond, whether they drive a delivery truck, work in a grocery store. , or serve on the front line in a hospital. And with the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve seen our generation come up, take to the streets, and make sure our voices are heard. Enough is enough! ”
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She continued, calling the recent shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “Yet another devastating reminder that we cannot stop”, and insisted that “we can never tolerate police brutality or any injustice.
“We must continue the fight to end systemic racism,” she said, urging viewers to come together for change.
“Music has this power. Music can help us heal, ”she says. “It’s all about love, and that’s what it’s all about tonight.” ”
Following the introduction, The Weeknd offered a performance of their hit “Blinding Lights,” which is up for Video of the Year.
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The Weeknd video is also up for Artist of the Year, Song of the Summer, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Direction and Best R&B.
The other nominees for the evening are Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish.
Shortly after the performance, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande won the award for Best Collaboration for their song “Rain on Me” before Miley Cyrus performed her new song “Midnight Sky”, while swinging on a disco ball.
Following this, Drew Berrymore presented the award for Best Director to Taylor Swift for her video for the song “The Man,” which saw her transform into a man wearing makeup.
Another of the evening’s first performances came from rapper DaBaby, who offered a mix of some of his most popular tunes while shedding light on police brutality by appearing in the back of a police car driven by two police officers wearing coronavirus masks.
Several other stars took to the stage throughout the night, including BTS, who performed “Dynamite” and Gaga, who brought in Ariana Grande to perform “Rain on Me” as part of a mashup of some of her songs. recent.
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Before Gaga returned to the stage to win the Artist of the Year award, The Weeknd – born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye – took home the award for Best R&B but said in his acceptance speech that he “really had to. bad… to celebrate. now. ”
“Justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor,” he said in his brief acceptance speech.
Gaga also won the inaugural MTV Tricon Award for her contributions to music and film. In her speech, she also urged fans to make the world a better place.
“Wear a mask,” she concludes. “It’s a sign of respect. “