P!nk is known for being the kind of in-your-face, bold pop artist that never apologizes for being exactly who she is. Her prolific career was honored at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, where the artist was given the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
P!nk kicked off the performance by stepping back to her devil-may-care pop beginnings, playing “Get The Party Started” and “Raise Your Glass” before riding a lawnmower around a catwalk that weaved its way through the audience during “So What.” The medley then took a somber turn, as the pop star appeared to be giving her younger self sage advice for “Perfect” before snaking in the melody of her No. 1 single “Just Give Me a Reason.”
Finally, new single “What About Us” was given a moving showcase, as P!nk showed almost military drill-like choreography before clasping hands with her dancers and raising her fists to the rafters. She certainly proved that after all these years, she’s still got some serious pipes.
She’s also still got a strong sense of personal style: P!nk’s VMAs look was tough-girl combination of a Wonder Woman-reminiscent bodysuit, white track jacket, and wide leg pants. The best detail of the look, though, were the two colored straps that hung from the jacket: One said “WAKE THE F*CK UP,” and one said “STAY WOKE!” On the back of her outfit, a piece of tape reads, “FUMP TRUCK.”
Then, Ellen DeGeneres appeared onstage to present P!nk with the Video Vanguard award, calling the singer “the most incredible performer” and “an awesome human being” (and mentioning that Cher was originally tapped to present the award). P!nk recalled a conversation she had with her daughter Willow, age 6.
“If I may tell you a quick story: Recently, I was driving my daughter to school, and she said to me out of the blue, ‘Mama … I’m the ugliest girl I know,” P!nk told the VMAs audience. “‘I look like a boy with long hair.’” After joking that she had thoughts about beating up another 6-year-old who might have insulted her daughter, P!nk continued, “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 life and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us. These are artists like Michael Jackson and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Annie Lennox and Prince and Janis Joplin and George Michael, Elton John, so many artists. So many artists. Her eyes glazed over.”
P!nk then said she asked her daughter why the youngster felt like the “ugliest girl.”
“She said, ‘I look like a boy.’ I said, ‘What do you think I look like?’ She said, ‘Well you’re beautiful,’” Pink said. “I said, ‘Well, thanks, but when people make fun of me that’s what they use. They say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions. My body is too strong.’”
“And I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, mamma.’ I said, ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ ‘No, mamma.’ ‘Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?’ ‘No, mamma.’ ‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, Mama.’
‘OK! So, baby girl. 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.”
For P!nk, the award marks the latest in a long history of accomplishments. Over her 17-year career, the pop star has snagged three Grammys, two Billboard Music Awards and six MTV Video Music Awards, and was named Billboard‘s Woman of the Year in 2013.
Beautiful Trauma, out Oct. 13, marks P!nk’s first album since 2012’s The Truth About Love.
BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA TRACK LIST
Whatever You Want
What About Us
But We Lost It
Where We Go
I Am Here
Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken
You Get My Love
P!NK is a huge supporter of various charities, including: Make a Wish Foundation, Autism Speaks, Human Rights Campaign and No Kid Hungry. She was formerly a spokesperson for COVERGIRL and remains on the UNICEF team as an Ambassador.
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