The Weeknd used his acceptance speeches at the MTV VMAs 2020 to call for justice for Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor.
The star picked up the awards for Best R&B and Video Of The Year at the socially-distanced ceremony, with both trophies recognising the video for ‘Blinding Lights’.
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When collecting the Best R&B award at the event, The Weeknd said: “It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment so I’m just gonna say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor. Thank you.”
— rodrigo (@WeekndVisuals) August 31, 2020
Later, when announced as the winner of Video Of The Year, he repeated the sentiment. “Thank you MTV, thank you again everyone involved in making this video,” he said. “Again, hard to celebrate so I’m gonna say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor.”
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) August 31, 2020
Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week (August 23) as he tried to get into his car. His father has stated he is currently paralysed from the waist down and was, at one point, handcuffed to his hospital bed.
Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13 after they used a battering ram to enter her apartment on a “no-knock” search warrant. The police were investigating two men suspected of selling drugs, neither of whom resided at Taylor’s address.
Protestors and stars have called for justice for Taylor in the months since her death. Three of the officers involved were placed on administrative reassignment after her killing, while only one, Brett Hankison, has since been fired. None have faced criminal charges at present.
Lady Gaga was the MTV VMAs 2020’s biggest winner, taking home five awards on the night, including Artist Of The Year and the inaugural Tricon Award. The star used her speeches to spread messages of hope and encouragement, telling viewers: “A renaissance is coming.”
BTS also took home four awards at the event, including Best Group, Best Pop, Best K-pop and Best Choreography for ‘On’. The Korean group gave their debut live performance of their new single ‘Dynamite’, which was released last week (August 21).