This year, like all years, Beyoncé dominated the MTV Video Music Awards. Despite not being booked as an official act on the show, the singer ended up stealing it – taking home seven awards, and performing a surprise 15-minute medley of Lemonade tracks.
The politically charged performance began with the record’s opening track, “Pray You Catch Me”. After being joined on stage by several ghostly figures, Bey paid a powerful tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement: simulating loud ‘shots’ as each dancer fell to the floor and became bathed by blood red light.
Beyoncé, who has previously donated $1.5 million to BLM, strengthened the statement by bringing the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and Eric Garner to the ceremony. The parents – who also appeared in Lemonade – posed with the singer on the event’s white carpet on Sunday (August 28), along with other collaborators from the album.
“I tried to hold it together, but anytime I’m talking about my son – looking at a picture – I just think about all that’s gone and how he had so much ahead of him,” Lesley McSpadden-Head, mother of Brown, told Rolling Stone. “So I appreciate (Beyoncé) for being bold enough to confront things and be sensitive at the same time.”
Watch the full set – which also includes performances of “Hold Up”, “Sorry”, “Hurt Yourself” and “Formation” – above.