Racism was addressed during the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) Sunday night when the show honored Heather Heyer, the woman killed during the White supremacist “Unite the Right” rally held on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville.
Heyer’s mom, Susan Bro, was on hand to present the “Best Fight Against the System” award.
“My daughter was killed when she protested racism. I miss her but I know she’s here tonight,” Bro said on stage. “I have been deeply moved to see people across the world — the world — by her inspiration and her courage.”
Bro also took a moment to announce her new Heather Heyer Foundation, created to award scholarships to students interested in pursuing law, education and social justice issues.
“I’m here to speak for my child. She’s not allowed to speak now except through me,” Bro told The Associated Press prior to the ceremony.
“I’m just so deeply pleased. This is like a magnifying of Heather’s voice, a magnification of what she would have done.”
The “Best Fight Against The System” award went to all six nominees, including Logic and Damian Lemar Hudson for “Black Spider Man,” the artists of the Hamilton Mixtape for “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” Big Sean for “Light,” Alessia Cara for “Scars To Your Beautiful,” Taboo and Shailene Woodley for “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” and John Legend for “Surefire.”
“I look forward to all of the work that they and all of you will do together to make the world a better, kinder place,” Bro said of the winners.
Robert Lee speaks
The “Unite the Right” rally was organized by a potpourri of racist hate groups to protest the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville.
The Rev. Robert Lee IV, a direct descendant of the Confederate general, introduced Bro and also denounced racism from the stage, calling it “America’s original sin.”
“Today I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and White supremacy head on,” he told the crowd.
‘We must resist!’
Before then, Paris Jackson also denounced White supremacists from the stage, just before presenting the first award of the evening.
“I’m seeing a lot of love and light here tonight already. A lot of diversity, and a lot of potential power. You know, if we were to all put our voices together, do you realize the difference we would make, if we were all stand up united as one? Our impact, it would be ‘uge.” she said, mocking Donald Trump’s pronunciation of “huge.”
Michael Jackson’s daughter continued: “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! We must resist!”