The MTV Europe Music Awards went ahead in Budapest on Friday without RuPaul’s Drag Race as a nominee for best reality series, a move that was met with anger by its fans.
But the show still incorporated many of the themes that have made this a historically and culturally important moment for the LGBTQ+ community. During the ceremony, the band Boyz II Men opened with “End of the Road,” which is an ode to coming out, and many artists gave speeches that discussed gay pride and their sexuality.
Among the several award winners were Lady Gaga, who took home four awards in two categories and garnered the most popular artist trophy. She was presented the award for best pop artist by her big sister, Natali Germanotta, and she revealed during her acceptance speech that she hopes people may not judge her “based on what you see in the tabloids.” And The Weeknd, who had been nominated for a number of awards, was given the best R&B award by Tom Cruise. The Weeknd, who came out as pansexual in 2014, dedicated his award to “the pride of all humans.”
Others won awards for their LGBTQ+ advocacy, including Troye Sivan, Sam Smith, and Michelle Williams.
During their acceptance speeches, Marisa Tomei and Yoko Ono encouraged viewers to vote for Lady Gaga. “Lady Gaga stands up against bullies,” Ono said. “So do you. And we have to build a resistance against them. And that’s why it’s so exciting that her fans and all of us are doing it together.”
Ono’s remarks took on particular significance as Hungary’s new government has repeatedly shown intolerance toward the LGBTQ+ community.
However, despite protests, drag queens were among those allowed in the audience and they took the stage ahead of the ceremony to perform “Because You Loved Me.”
Read the full story at Slate.
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