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Since the release of her debut album, Can’t Take Me Home, in 2000, P!nk has established herself as an icon in the world of pop music. Known for her rebellious attitude and unique style, the Grammy Award-winning artist was honored with the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award on Sunday night after a successful 17-year career.
The MTV Video Vanguard Award, renamed in 1991 in honor of the King of Pop, recognizes performers who have made influential contributions to music and film. This year, P!nk follows in the footsteps of previous honorees including the likes of David Bowie, Madonna, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake.
Although Cher was initially supposed to present P!nk with the award, Ellen DeGeneres stepped in at the last minute at P!nk’s request.
In her acceptance speech, the pop artist told a heartfelt story about an experience with her 6-year-old daughter, Willow, who looked onto the stage from the audience.
When Willow expressed concerns about feeling ugly, P!nk elected to make a PowerPoint presentation to inspire her daughter to never change despite what others may think. In the presentation, P!nk included “androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth and are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us.” She listed off musical inspirations such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Annie Lennox, Prince, Janice Joplin, George Michael and Elton John.
In regard to Willow’s struggles over looking “like a boy with long hair,” P!nk responded with advice from her own experiences.
“When people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions or my body is too strong. And I said, do you see me growing my hair? ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me changing my body? ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world? ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world? ‘Yes, Mama.'”
“So baby girl, we don’t change,” P!nk told her daughter. “We take the gravel and a shell, and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.”
“To all the artists here, I’m so inspired by all of you. Thank you for being your true selves and for lighting the way for us,” she added.
Prior to receiving her award, the honoree performed a medley of her hit songs throughout the years, including “Get the Party Started,” “Raise Your Glass,” “So What,” “Just Give Me a Reason,” “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” “Perfect” and her newest single, “What About Us.”
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