The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards aired last night, and while they have a reputation of not always using their platform to make a difference in past years, this year the awards used their airtime to shed light on the issues currently facing the United States.

The awards took a step, or should we say a giant leap, toward gender equality this year by changing the name of the “Moonman” award. Known for being the award show that’s been giving away the “Moonman” since 1984, this year the coveted award became the “Moon Person.”

“Why should it be a man?” MTV President Chris McCarthy told the New York Times. “It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist.”

Transgender recognition did not stop there. Transgender military members walked the VMA blue carpet in the wake of President Trump’s transgender military ban. Brynn Tannehill, Laila Ireland, Akira Wyatt, Jennifer Peace, Logan Ireland and Sterling James Crutcher walked alongside Sarah Kate Ellis, the President of GLAAD.

“Any patriot who is putting their own life at risk to fight for our freedom and stand for equality is a hero at MTV, and to young people everywhere,” said MTV president Chris McCarthy in a statement.

 

P!nk accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, and used her speech as a time to talk about acceptance of others by telling the story of her six year old daughter’s insecurity over feeling that she looks like a boy.

“So, baby girl,” P!nk concluded her award acceptance. “We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.”

 

In addition to gender awareness, the VMAs took some time from the evening to discuss Charlottesville. Robert Lee IV, descendent of Civil War general Robert E. Lee came out to denounce racism and introduce Susan Bro, mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyers. Bro announced the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation, as well as the winners of the Fight Against the System award, which went to artists who had released songs about immigration, the LGBTQ community, body image, race, the environment and more.

 

Suicide and mental health awareness were a topic of discussion throughout the evening. Jared Leto paid tribute to two music legends that the industry lost to suicide this year, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.

 

Logic performed his hit song 1-800-273-8255 alongside Alessia Cara and Khalid in a must-watch moment that featured suicide-attempt survivors and a speech about equality from Logic that left the audience in tears.

 

Alessia Cara, one of the winners of the Fight Against the System award continued to fight the system after her performance with Logic with a solo performance of her song “Scars to Your Beautiful,” and a visual message of surrounding the impacts of body image.

While the

 

While the awards may be over, our hopes are that MTV continues the momentum of using its position in society to make an impact.

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