Why Pink’s VMAs Speech Was the Highlight of the Night

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Pink made the most of her moment as 2017 VMA Video Vanguard Award recipient by giving the night’s most powerful speech — a few minutes of genuine emotion that gracefully cut through the manufactured cynicism that overpowered much of the rest of the awards show. (See: Taylor’s video, Katy’s hosting.)

After performing a collection of her greatest hits and receiving a warm introduction from Ellen DeGeneres, Pink began her remarks by recounting something her daughter said to her on a recent drive to school: “I’m the ugliest girl I know … I look like a boy with long hair.” Pink, who arrived at the VMAs alongside her daughter in excellent matching suits, used the anecdote to speak directly to her daughter from the stage. She extolled the individualism of rock stars ranging from Prince to Janis Joplin to Elton John, “artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day in their life, and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us.” She later ended with a moving plea for self-expression and tolerance. “We don’t change — we take the gravel in the shell, and we make a pearl,” she explained. “And we help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty.”

Why Pink’s Speech Was the Highlight of the VMAs