There was little doubt that the 2017 MTV VMAs would be politically charged—especially given the show’s history and the current state of affairs. And it didn’t take long for this year’s show to go there: As Paris Jackson was presenting the very first live award of the night for Best Pop Video, she delivered a passionate speech against the recent violence displayed by white supremacists across the country.
Jackson wasted no time upon taking the stage to make her voice and her feelings heard, demanding a call to action and sneaking in a dig at President Donald Trump. “I’m seeing a lot of love and light here tonight already,” she opened. “A lot of diversity. And a lot of potential power. You know, if we all put our voices together, do you realize the difference we would make?
“If we were to all stand up, united as one, our impact, it would be yuge,” she continued, poking fun at the president’s infamous pronunciation of the word. “Believe me. Huge. And that’s not fake news,” she added, citing another one of POTUS’s most-used terms.
Jackson said, “So, let’s leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred, and their discrimination. We must resist.”
Jackson’s powerful statement comes two weeks after white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKK members violently protested the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia—leaving one counter-protester, Heather Heyer, dead and dozens of others injured. Trump followed the horrific events with an unhinged press conference, in which he refused to condemn white supremacy and declared that there was blame and violence “on both sides.”
Jackson’s speech was not the first anti-Trump and pro-equality moment of the night (that came when transgender military members walked the red carpet), and it certainly won’t be the last—as Heather Heyer’s mother is due to present the award for Best Fight Against the System, which will honor music videos that made a politically charged statement.
Watch Paris Jackson’s full speech below:
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