These Celebrities Brought Powerful Messages to the 2021 VMAs
It’s that time of year again when VMA red carpet looks and performances are the centers of the week. Let’s shift that focus to the activism shown on stage.
This year’s MTV VMAs took place in Brooklyn, New York, Sunday night to commemorate all the trailblazers and incoming artists of 2021. The show was hosted by the one and only, Doja Cat, along with multiple unique outfit changes. The night consisted of meme-able moments, surprise appearances, performance tributes, and nods to activism.
First up is magical lyrist Cyndi Lauper. Before presenting an award to Justin Bieber, Daniel Cesar, and Giveon for their hit “Peaches,” Lauper took the opportunity to use her platform.
She remarks, “I won a moon person at the very first VMAs in 1984. Things are a little different now. Yeah, girls wanna have fun. But we also want to have funds. Equal pay. Control over our bodies! You know, fundamental rights.”
The 68-year-old pop star also noted that her song represents all the girls to show, “We were the little engine that could.” Many fans took to Twitter to show their praise for Cyndi Lauper.
“Girls just want to have fun and fun(ds) and fun(damental rights)” All hail queen @cyndilauper 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻— Carly Copeland Ashlock (@carlyashlock) September 13, 2021
Joining in on Lauper’s activist efforts, Billie Eilish used the spotlight to bring an important message to the audience. As Eilish received an award for “Your Power” winning Video for Good, she emphasized, “We need to protect our young women at all costs. For real. We also need to remember that we all have power and we have to remember to not abuse it.”
Eilish’s message was a powerful moment that showcased the importance of protecting women and their rights. Both women put aside the Hollywood fantasy and used their platform to spread vital messages that are usually drowned out by pop culture news on social media.
Trailing behind Lauper and Eilish on the activism movement, Lil Nas X paid tribute to those struggling with HIV. The 22-year-old rap legend hit the stage with an awe-struck performance of “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow and “Montero.”
Lil Nas X was fully decked out in a hot pink marching band outfit that quickly turned into a hot pink bedazzled boxer brief. True to Lil Nas X style, he was joined by Mardrequs Harris, who is the Southern AIDS Coalition’s director of community investments. Mardrequs had the number “433,816” on his wardrobe to represent the number of people struggling with HIV in the south.
The numbers may not catch your eyes during the flashing lights and jaw-dropping performance. But, this is a big step for bringing more awareness to the HIV community. Also, it helps to crush the harsh stigma for people with HIV, which Da Baby showed is still a topic not understood or accepted by everyone.
.@LilNasX delivered a powerful performance at the #VMAs and shined a spotlight on the stigma that fuels HIV, especially across the South. Mardrequs Harris from @SouthernAIDSCo wore the number 433,816 in red, representing the the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. South pic.twitter.com/XNLvt9x9C7— GLAAD (@glaad) September 13, 2021
Mardrequs shared, “This experience was surreal! Having the opportunity to share the stage with Lil Nas X was something I never would have imagined. And to have him use his platform to raise awareness about HIV stigma is invaluable to our work.”
If there’s anything to take away from the night, it’s that artists who use their platform for selfless acts and for spreading important messages are in a different tier of greatness.