Yesterday (Aug. 30), exactly one week after the horrific shooting of Jacob Blake, the MTV Video Music Awards aired, honoring the best in music videos and pop culture. Among the many tributes and acceptances speeches throughout the night, The Weeknd used the opportunity to address the tragic experiences experienced by the Black community.
After winning the Best R&B Award for his single “Blinding Lights,” the singer took the stage and explained how the recent killings of innocent Black people affected his ability to relish in his victory. “It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so I’m just gonna say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor,” he said in a speech just under 20 seconds.
Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot and killed by officers who entered her Lousiville home using a no-knock warrant back in March. In Kenosha Wisconsion, Blake, who is now paralyzed from the waist down, was brutally shot in the back by cops responding to a “domestic” incident. The news of their horrific shootings in addition to that of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others, have sparked protests and various celebrity statements demanding justice and change.
At the VMAs, host Keke Palmer sounded off on the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement during these times. “With the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve seen our generation step up, take to the streets, and make suer our voices will be heard,” Palmer said. “Enough is enough. What we just witnessed in Kenosha, Wisconsin is another devastating reminder that we can’t stop, that we can never tolerate police brutality or any injustice. We must continue the fight to end systemic racism. The leaders of that movement are you, us, the people watching tonight. It’s our time to be the change we want to see.”
DaBaby, who took the virtual stage at the award show, also used his platform to highlight the racial injustices. The rapper performed three of his singles “PEEP HOLE,” “Blind,” and “Rockstar,” using choreography and imagery to portray issues of police brutality.