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MUSIC Lil Nas X wins top award at MTV VMAs
2021-09-13

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The MTV VMA Awards took place Sept. 12—and an LGBTQ+ artist took home one of the night's top awards.

Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," besting Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion ("WAP"); DJ Khaled and Drake ("POPSTAR"); Doja Cat and SZA ("Kiss Me More"); Ed Sheeran ("Bad Habits"); and The Weekend ("Save Your Tears").

The video also won for Best Direction and Best Visual Effects. According to a media statement, Southern AIDS Coalition's Director of Community Investments Mardrequs Harris participated onstage during the performance. He donned the number 433,816 in red on his wardrobe, representing the universal color of awareness and support for HIV, and the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. South as of 2015—a number that has increased substantially over the years.

Nas X also performed his hit "Industry Baby." GLAAD issued a statement about the performance, with GLAAD Associate Director, Communities of Color DaShawn Usher saying, "Lil Nas X continues to make music and LGBTQ history, this time by using the iconic VMAs stage to highlight HIV in the U.S. South, where HIV rates and HIV stigma continues to impact our community despite advances in prevention and the fact that people with HIV today lead long, healthy lives and, when on proper medication, cannot transmit the virus."

Some of the night's other winners included Justin Bieber (Artist of the Year, in a category in which Nas X wasn't nominated), Olivia Rodrigo, BTS, John Mayer and Billie Eilish.

One of the event's steamier moments when singer Normani (formerly part of Fifth Harmony) writhed on top of dancer Teyana Taylor while the latter was strapped vertically on a platform, channeling Janet Jackson's concert performances, according to CNN.com .

Also, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, Madonna—who arrived in classic NYC style in a yellow cab—kicked off festivities. The 20-time VMA winner walked onstage to "Vogue" and unfastened her trench coat to reveal a butt-baring, black leather dominatrix outfit.

In addition, before presenting the Best Pop trophy, Cyndi Lauper made a powerful feminist plea, according to the New York Post. "The girls still wanna have fun," she said. "But we also want FUNDS—equal pay."


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