P!nk Gives Powerful, Poignant Speech At MTV VMAs

It’s the morning after the MTV Video Music Awards and people are still buzzing about P!nk’s poignant and powerful speech.

On stage to accept the Video Vanguard Award moments after blazing through a medley of her hits, the 37-year-old mother of two shared something her six-year-old daughter Willow said on a recent drive to school.

"She said to me, out of the blue, 'Mama?' I said, 'Yes, baby?' She said, 'I'm the ugliest girl I know.' And I said, 'Huh?' And she was like, 'Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’

“And my brain went to Oh my god, you're 6. Why? Where is this coming from? Who said this? Can I kick a 6-year-old's ass, like what?”

P!nk recalled that she said nothing but went home and put together a Powerpoint presentation for her daughter.

“In that presentation were androgynous rockstars and artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on, wave their flag, and inspire the rest of us,” said P!nk.

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“And these are artists like Michael Jackson and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Annie Lennox and Prince and Janis Joplin and George Michael, Elton John, so many artists — her eyes glazed over.

“But then I said, 'You know, I really wanna know why you feel this way about yourself.' And she said, 'Well I look like a boy,' and I said, 'Well what do you think I look like?' And she said, 'Well you're beautiful.' And I was like, 'Well, thanks. But 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, my body is too strong.’"

P!nk, who also has an eight-month-old son, Jameson, continued: "And I said to her, 'Do you see me growing my hair?' She said, 'No, Mama.' I said, '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.' 

MORE: Watch Alessia Cara Perform "Scars to Your Beautiful" At VMAs

As the VMAs crowd roared with approval, the singer recounted how she told Willow: “We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.’”

P!nk then paid tribute to the other artists in the room.

“I'm so inspired by all of you. Thank you for being your true selves and for lighting the way for us. I'm so inspired by you guys. There's so much rad s**t happening in music. And keep doing it. keep shining for the rest of us to see.”

P!nk’s remarks came during a show that also included important messages from presenter Jared Leto (“You are not alone. There is always a way forward; reach out, share your thoughts, don't give up, and I promise you this, the absolute biggest breakthroughs in life lie just beyond the darkest days”), performer Logic (“We must fight for the equality of every man, woman and child regardless of race, religion, colour, creed, and sexual orientation”) and presenter Kesha ("None of us are alone. It takes great courage to show the vulnerable side of being human.")

Susan Bro, the mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, mentioned how Canada’s Alessia Cara “spoke out about body shaming” in her song “Scars To Your Beautiful” and how Canadian artist K’naan “took on the targeting of immigrants” with his Hamilton Mixtape contribution, “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done).”

Those songs were among six honoured with the Best Fight Against The System award.