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The singer accepted the honor alongside the music video’s stars, including Todrick Hall, Hayley Kiyoko, Hannah Hart, Dexter Mayfield and more. Queer Eye‘s Jonathon Van Ness, who also appeared in the video, presented the award.
Hall, who co-executive produced the video with Swift, spoke on behalf of the team behind it. “I grew up in a small town of Plainview, Texas, and my entire life all I wanted in the entire world was to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid,” he shared. “I put a red towel on my head and tied my legs together and jumped in the pool, almost drowned, and after that people started to tell me the things that I could not do and could not accomplish in the world.”
Hall then spoke about how the music video, which features an LGBTQ cast, represents a change for the better. “This is what we need to be doing. If you are a young child that’s out there watching this show who is different, who feels misunderstood, we have never needed you more than now to share your art, share your stories, share your truth with the world no matter what you identify as, who you identify as, who you love — this is just such a beautiful place,” he said.
Hall concluded the acceptance speech by thanking MTV, Swift and the music video’s cast and crew. The performers celebrated their win by hugging each other before they exited the stage.
“You Need to Calm Down” is the next single off of Swift’s seventh studio album, Lover. The colorful music video for the anti-hate anthem also stars Laverne Cox, Adam Rippon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the cast of Queer Eye, RuPaul, Ellen DeGeneres, Katy Perry, Ryan Reynolds and more.
The honor was one of the 10 awards for which Swift was nominated. She tied with Ariana Grande as the most nominated performer of the night.
The 2019 MTV VMAs took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco served as the host of the ceremony, which was broadcast on MTV.
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