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MTV Video Music Awards 2017: Politics and Taylor Swift

The rapper kicked off the show with a mini-medley of his songs. The fiery set included a man totally engulfed in flames. Lamar went into the evening with eight nominations, followed by Katy Perry and The Weeknd tied with five nominations each.

Perry, who served as the night’s host, started off with a video sketch that featured her heading off into space after talking to astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Peggy Whitson. The singer joked about how the world has been doing.

“Even in the apocalypse we deserve the best soundtrack,” she said, then introduced Paris Jackson, daughter of the late Michael Jackson, to present the award for best pop video.

Jackson made a statement before announcing the winner.

“Let’s leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi, white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with ‘liberty’ as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination,” she said. “We must resist.”

The best pop video award went to Fifth Harmony for “Down.”

Jackson’s remarks set the political tone for the night.

MTV invited active duty transgender military service members to the show.

“Any patriot who is putting their own life at risk to fight for our freedom and stands for equality is a hero at MTV, and to young people everywhere,” McCarthy said to CNN in a statement.

On Saturday, GLAAD and SPARTA, an LGBTQ service members and veterans group, announced that six service members would be in attendance.

According to GLAAD, transgender service members Sterling James Crutcher, Logan Ireland, Jennifer Peace and Akira Wyatt, and trans veterans Laila Ireland and Brynn Tannehil would the VMA red carpet Sunday.

A spokesperson for MTV also confirmed that a fourth generation nephew of Confederate general Robert E. Lee will make an appearance.

Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, a 24-year-old pastor, was set to speak out against racial injustice.

It was also announced that Susan Bro, mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, would present the award for best fight against the system, a new category at the event.

Perhaps the most anticipated moment of the show arrived with the premiere of Taylor Swift’s music video for her new single “Look What You Made Me Do.”

The video was a much darker look for Swift, who appeared in it as different versions of herself, including as a zombie with snakes crawling about her.

Swift isn’t the only one who has undergone a transformation.

The iconic “Moonman” trophy handed out Sunday is now a “Moon Person.”

“Why should it be a man?” MTV president Chris McCarthy told the New York Times. “It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist.”

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