This year’s MTV Video Music Awards ceremony was anything but normal, with stars appearing virtually with prerecorded performances and accepting awards from home. The night was hosted by Keke Palmer, and although the event couldn’t be hosted at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, many artists paid homage to the city that created MTV with their performances.

Palmer kicked off the night, and dedicated the show to the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who died on Friday at 43 from colon cancer.

“We dedicate tonight’s show to a man whose spirit touched so many. He’s a true hero, not just on-screen,” she said. “His impact lives forever.”


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Other stars, like The Weeknd, who ultimately took home the coveted award for Video of the Year and Best R&B song for “Blinding Lights,” dedicated their acceptance speeches to specific causes. The Weeknd called attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, and the recent killings of Black people at the hands of police.

“It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so I’m just going to say: justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor,” he said.

The star performed his hit single with a full face of bruises and cuts, as he appeared in the music video, from Hudson Yards in Manhattan.

DaBaby also highlighted the ongoing protests against police brutality by performing his song “Blind” while handcuffed in the back of a police car.

Lady Gaga dedicated a bit of her time on stage to reminding people to wear a mask.

“Wear a mask. It’s a sign of respect,” she said. Gaga won awards for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year (for her collaboration with Ariana Grande on “Rain On Me”) and the MTV Tricon award.

“Just because we’re separated right now and culture may feel less alive in some ways, I know a renaissance is coming,” Gaga said during her Tricon award acceptance speech. “And the wrath of pop culture will inspire you and the rage of art will empower you as it responds to hardship with its generosity and love. ”

Gaga and her backup dancers donned face masks for her iconic performance, a medley of her hits, including “Rain On Me,” where Grande appeared with her, also in a face mask.

Many artists also made history last night. Taylor Swift became the first solo female artist to win Best Direction, with her music video for “The Man.”

K-pop band BTS made their debut at the VMAs this year, performing “Dynamite” from Seoul, South Korea while dancing in front of a green screen of NYC.

This year’s show featured two new categories: Best Quarantine Performance, which was won by Latin American boyband CNCO, and Best Music Video From Home, which was won by Grande and Justin Bieber for their song “Stuck With U.”

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