Taylor Swift and Missy Elliot dominated the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) as activism past and present was honoured.
Swift scooped the music video of the year award for her gay pride anthem You Need To Calm Down, and took her co-producer Todrick Hall onstage with her to collect the gong.
Hall said: “If you’re a young child that’s out there watching this show who is different, who feels misunderstood, we’ve 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 such a beautiful place.”
The video for the song, which calls out homophobia and those who send her hate messages online, featured famous faces including the Queer Eye fab five, Laverne Cox, Ru Paul and Ellen DeGeneres.
Swift announced she supported the Equality Act before the video was released, and on collecting the award, said: “I just want to say that this is a fan-voted award, so I first want to say thank you to the fans because in this video several points were made, so you voting for this video means that you want a world where we’ll all treated equally.”
She mimed tapping a watch during the comment, which will be seen as a side swipe at the Trump administration.
The video also won video for good, which was presented by Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who said: “It’s 2019 and not caring is not cute.”
After the ceremony, Trinity Bonet, who appeared in the video and was a contestant on Ru Paul’s drag race, revealed Swift had said she would not perform unless everyone in her video received their own award should the video scoop any of the prizes.
Missy Elliot’s 20 year career was also honoured at the VMAs as she won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award.
She said: “I’ve worked diligently for over two decades and I never thought I would be standing up here receiving this award.”
The 48-year-old, real name Melissa Elliot, dedicated the award to the dance community and said her inspirations included Janet Jackson, Madonna and Busta Rhymes.
She marked the 18th anniversary of singer Aaliyah’s death, saying: “Aaliyah, I love you. We miss you.”
Lizzo was a social media hit of the night, after performing a mash up of Truth Hurts and Good As Hell in front of a giant pair of inflatable buttocks.
Fans said she was “robbed” after losing out on the new artist award to Billie Eilish.
During her performance she also spoke about body positivity, saying: “It’s so hard trying to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back.”
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello will have done nothing to quell rumours of their relationship after putting on a steamy display during their performance of Senorita.
The pair are thought to have been dating since June, and teased fans with an intense show during their song, including nearly kissing on stage.
The duo, who were spotted holding hands in the audience, won best collaboration for the song.
Miley Cyrus performed her new single Slide Away, reportedly about her split from former husband Liam Hemsworth.
But it was her dad who won an award, picking up song of the year with Lil Nas X for Old Town Road.
Ariana Grande, who wasn’t at the awards, having just performed at Manchester’s Pride, won Artist of the Year as well as a number of other gongs for her videos.
Other winners include BTS who won best group, Jonas Brothers who won best pop for Sucker, and Cardi B who won best hip hop for Money.