6 Major Moments From 2017 MTV VMA's: Pastor Urges People to Answer God's Call

(Photo: MTV video screencap)The Reverend Robert Wright Lee IV, pastor at North Carolina's Bethany United Church of Christ, speaking at the 2017 MTV VMA awards on August 27, 2017.

The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night in Inglewood, California, delivered a number of memorable moments, including the rarity of a Christian pastor getting on stage to speak to people about answering God's call to fight racism.

American rapper Kendrick Lamar walked out the biggest winner with six awards from the 34th annual show, which was hosted by singer Katy Perry, thanking God in the process.

Here are six major moments from the awards show. 

1. Christian pastor takes stage

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(Photo: MTV video screencap)The Reverend Robert Wright Lee IV, pastor at North Carolina's Bethany United Church of Christ, speaking at the 2017 MTV VMA awards on August 27, 2017.

The Reverend Robert Wright Lee IV, a descendant of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, took the stage on Sunday night, speaking out against the violence in Charlottesville.

The clash between alt-right groups, such as neo-Nazis and the KKK, and leftist antifa supporters occurred over a statue of the Confederate general that the "Unite the Right" was seeking to protect.

"We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America's original sin," said the pastor of North Carolina's Bethany United Church of Christ, according to Vox.

"Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God's call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on. We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women's March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville," he added, referring to the young woman killed when a "Unite the Right" supporter drove his car into a crowd of people.

 

2. Heather Heyer's mother speaks

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(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)2017 MTV Video Music Awards – Show – Inglewood, California, U.S., 27/08/2017 - Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month, speaks on stage.

Susan Bro, Heyer's mother, who was introduced by Robert Lee IV, announced the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation, which she described as "a nonprofit organization that will provide scholarships to help more people join Heather's fight against hatred."

"I want people to know that Heather never marched alone," Bro said on stage.

"She was always joined by people of every race and every background in this country. In that spirit, MTV has decided to honor all six nominees for Best Fight Against the System."

All six nominees, including John Legend ("Surefire"), Alessia Cara ("Scars to Your Beautiful"), Logic and Damian Lemar Hudson ("Black SpiderMan"), Shailene Woodley and Taboo ("Stand Up/Stand N Rock"), Big Sean ("Light") and Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Immigrants") received the award, according to Rolling Stone.

"Through their diversity, these six videos show their many ways to take action and many battlegrounds in the fight for social good," Bro concluded.

 

 3. Paris Jackson slams white supremacy

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(Photo: Reuters)Paris Jackson at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards on August 27, 2017.

Paris Jackson, the daughter of late pop icon Michael Jackson, was among several stars to use her time on stage to urge for unity in the face of racial division.

"I'm seeing a lot of love and light here tonight," Jackson said before presenting the Best Pop Music Video award.

"A lot of diversity and a lot of potential power. If we were to all put our voices together, imagine the difference we would make. If we were to all stand up, united, as one, our impact — it would be huge. Believe me. Huge," she stated, in what The Independent observed was a "subtle dig" at U.S. President Donald Trump.

The model and actress added:

"Let's leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi, white supremacists jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that a nation, with liberty as our slogan, has zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination. We must resist."

 

4. Kendrick Lamar thanks God

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(Photo: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)2017 MTV Video Music Awards – Photo Room – Inglewood, California, U.S., 27/08/2017 - Kendrick Lamar with his awards.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar was the night's biggest winner, winning Video of the Year, along with five other awards.

"Man, I want to thank God for giving us these amazing talents," Lamar said as part of his acceptance speech.

The rapper had earlier kicked off the VMAs by performing two of his hit singles, "DNA" and "Humble."

Lamar also took home awards for Best Hip Hop Video, Best Cinematography, Best Direction, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects prizes.

 

5. Logic sings suicide prevention song

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(Photo: MTV video screencap)Logic and Khalid perform "1-800-273-8255" at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 27, 2017.

Suicide survivors took the stage during rapper Logic's performance of suicide awareness anthem "1-800-273-8255," which is also the phone number for a suicide hotline.

"I've been on the low / I been taking my time / I feel like I'm out of my mind / It feel like my life ain't mine / Who can relate?" read the opening lines of the song.

Several of the survivors on stage wore T-shirts bearing the lifeline's phone number, along with the message: 'You are not alone.'

"Logic's song '1-800-273-8255' is not only a phenomenal track, but it has struck a chord with its inspiring message of hope, and we are honored to offer the VMA platform so it can reach even more young people," said Garret English, executive producer of the 2017 VMAs.

 

6. Linkin Park, Soundgarden lead singers remembered

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(Photo: MTV video screencap)Jared Leto pays tribute to Linkin Park lead singer, Chester Bennington, at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 27, 2018.

Oscar winner and "Thirty Seconds to Mars" singer Jared Leto paid tribute to Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, the lead singers of Linkin Park and Soundgarden, respectively, who both committed suicide earlier this year in separate incidents.

"Chester was my friend as he was to so many," said Leto, according to The Telegraph. "And witnessing his life taught me important things, especially about working relentlessly, pursuing dreams and being kind and caring while doing it."

"When I think about him, Chester, I see his face, which was always smiling," Leto added. "I think about his heart, which he wore on his sleeve. I think how kindly he treated me, my brother, our band."

Leto pointed out that Bennington and Cornell were "close friends."

The actor referred to Bennington's own words about Cornell after the latter's suicide, where he wrote: "Your voice was joy, pain and anger, love and heartache all wrapped into one."

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