Pink was awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award on Sunday at the MTV VMAs.


Prior to his, the 37-year-old singer sang a medley of her hits throughout her career, including “Raise Your Glass,” “So What,” “Get the Party Started,” “Just Give Me a Reason,” and “Perfect,” before jumping into her new single, “What About Us.” Following the stunning performance, Ellen DeGeneres took the stage to give the lifetime achievement award to Pink. “I think she’s the most incredible performer,” the comedian said. “When she said she’d like me to give her this award, I was honored.”

While accepting her award, Pink shared an empowering message for her daughter Willow, 6. “Recently I was driving my daughter to school, and she said to me, out of the blue, ‘Mama… I am the ugliest girl I know.’ And I said, ‘Huh?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’ And my brain went to, ‘Oh, my god. You are 6. Why? Where is this coming from? Who said this? Can I kick a 6-year-old’s ass?’ But I didn’t say anything,” she shared. “Instead I went home, and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her. And in that presentation were androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their lives, and carry on and wave their flag, and inspire the rest of us. These are artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Annie Lennox, Prince, Janis Joplin, George Michael, Elton John, so many artists.”

Her speech continued. “Then I said, ‘I really want to know why you feel this way about yourself.’ She said, ‘I look like a boy.’ I said, ‘What do you think I look like?’ She said, ‘Well, you are beautiful.’ I was like, ‘Well, thanks. But when people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say that I look like a boy, or I am too masculine, too many opinions, my body is too strong,'” the singer continued. “And I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, Mama.’ I said, ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ ‘No, Mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?’ ‘No, Mama.’ ‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, Mama.’ That’s right. So, baby girl, we don’t change, we take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. We help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty…. And you, my darling girl, are beautiful. And I love you.”

Pink arrived at the VMAs in a matching suit with her husband Carey Hart and Willow in her own suit. The couple’s 8-month-old son Jameson was not in attendance. Pink joins a long list of Vanguard recipients, including Kanye WestBeyoncéJustin TimberlakeBritney Spears, and Janet Jackson.

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