Beyoncé Honors Mothers of the Movement, Crushes ‘Lemonade’ Hits at MTV Video Music Awards

By Sameer Rao Aug 29, 2016

We once described the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) as "a decontexutalized vomit of everything good and bad going on in music culture today, with very little in between." While last night’s (August 28) 2016 awards ceremony largely fit that description, a few key moments made it stand out from last year’s insanity:

Principally, Beyoncé. She led the pack with 11 nominations and stole the show with a stunning medley of songs from visual album "Lemonade," in a 15-minute performance which incorporated themes from her Breakthrough Long Form Music Video-winning album. She also performed "Formation," whose video won the Video of the Year award. Earlier in the night, Beyoncé graced the "white carpet" with several Mothers of the Movement against police and White supremacist violence: Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Lezley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown), Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin) and Wanda Johnson (mother of Oscar Grant). Carr, McSpadden and Fulton starred in "Lemonade," holding pictures of their sons.

Besides Beyoncé, the 2016 VMAs featured a number of other notable moments, among them: 

Alicia Keys‘ poem and a capella performance honoring the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech: 

Kanye West‘s rambling speech mentioning Taylor Swift, his wife Kim Kardashian and ex Amber Rose: 

Drake presenting former (current?) fling Rihanna with this year’s Video Vanguard Award (before a medley of her hits):

What were your favorite VMA moments? Let us know in the comments. 

(H/t The Root, Rolling Stone