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October 22, 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beyonce owns MTV Video Music Awards

Beyonce with Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy after accepting the Video Vanguard Award.
By Mesfin Fekadu
AP (*)

Miley Cyrus lets homeless man accept her award for best video of the year

Beyonce closed the MTV Video Music Awards with an epic nearly 20-minute performance, and tears streamed down her face as she was joined onstage by her beaming husband and daughter. Beyonce sang and danced Sunday in a metallic leotard while Blue Ivy and Jay Z watched from their seats as the diva declared: “MTV, welcome to my world.”

As Beyonce accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award, the VMA’s version of a lifetime achievement award, at The Forum in Inglewood, California, she kissed her daughter and husband Jay Z, who called her the “greatest living entertainer.” The duo won best collaboration for the hit Drunk In Love.

“I have nothing to say but I am filled with so much gratitude,” she told the cheering crowd as they chanted her name repeatedly.

Her performance easily outdid her competition throughout the night, though Beyonce lost video of the year, which instead went to Miley Cyrus who let a homeless man accept her award. It was in sharp contrast to the 2013 VMAs, when Cyrus twerked and danced shockingly onstage.

“Thank y’all, my name is Jesse and I 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,” he said, as a teary Cyrus looked on. “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.”

Cyrus’ decision to let someone else accept her award to promote a cause was reminiscent of Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Awards best actor win, when he gave a Native American activist the stage rather than accept his Oscar trophy.

“I think what I realized after my last performance at the VMAs, I didn’t realize my platform, I didn’t realize my power and I didn’t realize my voice and how loud it is,” Cyrus said in an interview yesterday. “And I thought, you know, rather than sit here and talk about, ‘Oh, on every news cover, every time you go to AOL or wherever you go everybody’s sitting there talking about me,’ instead of using it as a negative, how can I use it as a positive? If I’m going to be speaking this loud, what am I trying to scream at the world? And this is it. It’s kind of a wake-up (call), which is what I had to do.”

Cyrus said the high of winning awards and memorable performances doesn’t last long, unlike her charity work.

“This fills you up and it feels good for a long time. ... I feel incredible today. I feel like I have a jet strapped to me and I am ready to take off from this,” she said. “I feel like there’s a way that I can incorporate everything I do in the future around youth homelessness. ... It just gives me more of a purpose. I tell everybody, I mean, dying a pop star is not what I want to have on my tombstone.”

The two-hour show was tamer than past VMAs: the most shocking moment was Nicki Minaj’s rump-shaking during her performance of Anaconda in the show’s first minutes and her wardrobe malfunction when she joined Ariana Grande and Jessie J for Bang, Bang.

“It felt amazing to open the show, and we ran out of time getting the dress zipped up,” Minaj said backstage.

Taylor Swift was a crowd favourite when she performed her new single Shake It Off in shimmery, fringed shorts and a crop top. She got to the top of the stage, and as her tuxedoed male background dancers stood with their arms wide open waiting for Swift to jump she said, “One second. I don’t care if it’s the VMAs. I’m not jumping off there.”

She continued: “It’s all kinds of people getting bitten by snakes. Dangerous.”

Grande, who held hands with rapper Big Sean backstage, kicked off the show with a performance of her EDM hit, Break Free in a Beyonce-inspired leotard. The 21-year-old won best pop video for her smash single Problem, but lost best female video to Katy Perry, who won for Dark Horse. Perry sported a figure-hugging denim dress and was joined by Riff Raff in a coordinating outfit, mirroring Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the 2001 American Music Awards.

The night also featured a serious social message: rapper-actor Common held a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer on August 9, before he presented the award for best hip-hop video.

“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,” Common said. “Hip-hop has always been presented a voice for the revolution.”

Later, a 15-second spot aired alluding to the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, urging viewers to take action to eliminate bias. “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” a quote by author James Baldwin read on the screen.

@MusicMesfin

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