34th annual 2017 VMA's entertains and empowers

Kendrick Lamar poses in the press room with the awards for best hip hop video, best direction, best cinematography, best art direction, best visual effects, and video of the year for "HUMBLE." at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

MTV’s annual Video Music Awards aired Sunday night, bringing forth one of the most talent-filled, inspiring shows yet. Kendrick Lamar, one of the most successful and highly credited rappers today, started off the night with a performance of “DNA.” and “HUMBLE.,” two new songs off of his newest project, “DAMN.” His electric energy is just what the audience present and at home needed to begin a night full of entertainment and appreciation of their most favorite artists.

Everyone and their mother was at the VMAs. Artists ranged from Ed Sheeran, Alessia Cara and Khalid all the way to Gucci Mane, Cardi B and Migos. Even model Hailey Baldwin, “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot and singer Katy Perry were present and had the opportunity to introduce artists to the stage and present their awards.

If you did not get to watch the awards, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of some of tonight’s biggest winners:

Video of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction and Best Direction: Kendrick Lamar for “HUMBLE.”

Artist to Watch: Khalid

Best Rock Video: Twenty One Pilots

Best Choreography: Teyana Taylor in “Fade” by Kanye West

Best Song of the Summer: “XO Tour Lif3” by Lil Uzi Vert

Best Collab: Taylor Swift and Zayn for “Live Forever”

Best Fight Against the System: John Legend for “Surefire,” Alessia Cara for “Scars to Your Beautiful,” Shailene Woodley for “Stand Up/Stand N Rock,” Logic and Damien Lemar Hudson for “Black SpiderMan,” Big Sean for “Light,” and Riz Ahmed, Snow Tha Product, Residente, and K’naan for “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done).”

Best New Artist: Khalid

Artist of the Year: Ed Sheeran

Aside from the awards were even more energetic performances done by a variety of different artists. A surprise happened while Ed Sheeran performed “Shape of You.” In the middle of the song, Ed Sheeran broke out into a semi-acoustic version of “XO Tour Lif3” which confused fans until Lil Uzi Vert walked onto stage to perform it with him. No one was expecting the song to be delivered by two artists of different genres, which made the crowd watch in awe and cheer even more when they were finished.

A very special tribute to the late lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, was included in the performances. Jared Leto of 30SecondsToMars took the microphone to make a touching and emotional speech about his fallen, close friend, who committed suicide on July 20. Leto explained how Bennington was a symbol of “working relentlessly, pursuing dreams, and being kind and care while doing it.”

“When I think about him, I think about his face and how he was always smiling, his heart, and how he always wore it on his sleeve,” Leto stated. “That voice will live forever. If there’s anyone watching this tonight and feels like there’s no hope, know that you are not alone.” The show also aired a snippet of Linkin Park performing “The Catalyst” at Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory during the 2010 VMAs.

Fighting against hatred and creating a platform to talk about mental health issues was a major theme throughout the night. To exemplify it, Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid performed “1-800-273-8255,” which is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. Around 60 suicide survivors, filled the platform where Logic, Khalid and Alessia Cara were performing, wearing white T-shirts with that exact number on the front and a message on the back saying “You are not alone.” This powerful message spoke volumes to everyone watching and made audience members tear up, including Logic himself.

After the song was over, Logic took the time to make a statement about how thankful he is that he was given the opportunity to bring light to a topic that is swept under the rug in mainstream media. “I am here to fight for your equality because I believe we are all created equal but not treated with equality and that is why we must fight, we must fight for the equality of every man, woman, and child regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual orientation,” Logic said. This powerful statement had celebrities such as Bebe Rexha teary-eyed at the state of this country, but also the amount of hope and love that was felt in the building.

Needless to say, if you were present or tuned into the VMAs last night, you were not only entertained by all the talent that was present, but empowered, inspired and given new hope of the future of this country and its people. The VMA’s  displayed that its purpose was not to just put on a good show, but make sure that people are aware of what they can do to make sure that we all live in a place of equality and justice while allowing celebrities to encourage that on their platforms.


Gabrielle Ferrell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at gabrielle.ferrell@uconn.edu.