Highlights from the 2015 VMAs

(From The Campus Lantern – September 3rd, 2015)

First things first, when I say highlights from the 2015 VMA’s, I feel like I should touch upon one of the reoccurring themes of the night: marijuana. Miley hosted, so you know there was going to be some weed references. But there were more than just a few. She mentioned the ganj every time she came on stage. One of her skits even included her eating a “special” brownie with Snoop Dogg – the popstar got so high that the rapper turned into her pet pig. For a country that doesn’t want to legalize it, we really do love talking about how awesome weed is in the media. Anyway, onto the happenings of the show.

Taylor Swift took home Video of the Year for her lady-filled music video “Bad Blood.” She also won Female Video of the Year for “Blank Space” and premiered her new video for “Wildest Dreams”. Other notable award winners included Fetty Wap for Best New Artist and Nicki’s “Anaconda” for Best Hip Hop Video.

The VMAs are supposed to be about the awards, but the main focus of the night was the performances. The night started off with a jaw-dropping performance by Nicki Minaj, who donned a glorious, feathery red dress. After performing the beat-heavy “Trini Dem Girls,” she transitioned into “The Night is Still Young.” Taylor Swift came onto stage to join the performance and I will admit that tears came to my eyes when the two ended with a duet of “Bad Blood.” The girl power was serious, y’all.

Later on in the show, Justin Bieber performed on-stage for the first time in two years. Other performances included Demi Lovato, Pharrel, and Tori Kelly. The night closed with an interesting hip hop collaboration between Twenty One Pilots and A$AP Rocky.

Every time Miley came out on stage throughout the night, she had a different outfit on. The outfits ranged anywhere from a rectangle rainbow box to a bunch of different colored circles taped onto her body. One look that stayed consistent throughout the night was the dreads in her hair. Miley is notorious for appropriating black culture, and her VMA hairstyle proved that she still hasn’t learned. At one point in the night, Nicki called Miley out for saying that she should keep quiet on black women’s issues. Instead of admitting that she messed up, Miley blamed the whole thing on the corruption of the media.

Other awareness-raising events at the VMAs included an award for Video With A Social Message, which Big Sean won for “One Man Can Change The World.” When Kanye took the stage to accept his Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, he made a long, ironic speech about how unimportant award shows are. While his speech was pretty confusing, he talked a lot about the corruption of the media and how important it is to “listen to the kids.” The Black Lives Matter movement was briefly mentioned at the show, but it was ultimately turned into a joke by Rebel Wilson. She had a skit in which she mentioned how she knew many people have had it with police, but she couldn’t stand “police strippers.” She donned a shirt that read “F*ck tha Stripper Police,” and went on to make jokes about police violence.

We all know the VMAs aren’t the most serious award ceremony of the year. However, many young people such as myself do tune in each year. Cultural appropriation? Jokes about institutional racism? Hopefully next year the VMAs can do better.