MTV Video Music Awards 2017: What you saw and what you missed

PHOTO: Kendrick Lamar accepts the award for best hip hop video for "HUMBLE." at the MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum, Aug. 27, 2017, in Inglewood, Calif. PlayChris Pizzello/Invision/AP
WATCH Pink steals the show with message of love and acceptance at MTV VMAs

The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards was a night of epic performances and stunning visuals.

After all, it is the awards show that recognizes how artists visually showcase the music we've fallen in love with over the past year.

With host Katy Perry guiding us through the awards and dozens of performances, the big award winner of the night was Kendrick Lamar. The rapper not only opened the show with a stunning performance, but he also took home the video of the year award for "Humble."

PHOTO: Host Katy Perry is lowered onto the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, Aug. 27, 2017, in Inglewood, Calif. Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Host Katy Perry is lowered onto the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, Aug. 27, 2017, in Inglewood, Calif.

It was also a memorable night for Pink, who was honored with the Michael Jackson Vanguard award. It was presented to her by Ellen DeGeneres. The singer joins other past recipients, including Madonna, Britney Spears and the late David Bowie.

Artists speak out

With music lovers from around the world turning in, many singers took the opportunity to sound off on causes important to them. The late Michael Jackson's daughter, Paris, spoke out about white supremacy while presenting the first award of the night.

"We must show these Nazis...[that] as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination," she said onstage. "We must resist."

Jared Leto remembers Chester Bennington

The awards ceremony didn't have an In Memoriam segment, but it did honor one artist that the music world lost this year: Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. The rock singer died July 20 from an apparent suicide.

His friend Jared Leto, who went on tour with him, said onstage that "Chester was my friend as he was to so many and witnessing his life taught me important things especially about working relentlessly, pursuing dreams and being kind and caring while doing it."

Bennington's band, Linkin Park, then performed a song in his honor.

Who had the best performances?

Amid the dozens of performers who took the stage inside the Forum in Inglewood, California, there were a few who stood above the rest.

Kendrick Lamar's opening performance of his hit songs, "DNA" and "Humble" was on fire -- literally. The rapper tapped a dancing man who was ablaze to dance alongside him while background dancers battled flames and performed acrobatics. The performance even brought comedian Ellen DeGeneres to her feet.

Demi Lovato also had a memorable performance. It wasn't on the main stage. Instead, the singer performed at the pool inside the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Lovato performed her hit song, "Sorry Not Sorry," as fans took to the water.

But one of the most moving performances was by Logic, Khalid and Alessia Cara. The three performed a song called, "1-800-273-8253," about suicide prevention. They were joined by suicide survivors onstage, who at times became tearful.

MTV addresses Charlottesville

The awards show also addressed the recent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, by inviting a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, to appear with Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a driver at the rally.

The Unite the Right rally, which was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members, was sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove a Lee statue from a local park. "As a pastor it is my duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin," Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV told the crowd to applause Sunday night.

Bro ended with a touching speech about her daughter by announcing the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers scholarships to combat hatred.

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