P!nk’s emotional MTV VMAs speech to her daughter celebrated non-binary expression in the best way
P!nk name-checked George Michael and Freddie Mercury as she made an impassioned defence of genderfluid and non-binary people at the MTV VMAs last night.
While accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, the rock star spoke told a story about her six-year-old Willow, who like her often dresses in a masculine style.
The 37-year-old singer, who’s releasing her first new album in five years, Beautiful Trauma, in October, said: “Recently I was driving my daughter to school, and she said to me, out of the blue: ‘Mama. I’m the ugliest girl I know.
“Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.”
After P!nk wondered whether she could take revenge on whoever made her daughter think this way – “Can I kick a six-year-old’s ass?” – the star went home and made a PowerPoint presentation.
She showed her daughter androgynous artists “who live their truth, are probably made fun of everyday of their life, and carry on, and wave their flag, and inspire the rest of us.”
This included legends like Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin, George Michael, Elton John, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince and Annie Lennox.
Willow repeated that she thought looked like a boy, so the singer asked her daughter: “Well, what do you think I look like?”
“Well, you’re beautiful,” came the reply.
P!nk told Willow she has faced the same criticisms and judgment from people her whole career, explaining: “They say that I look like a boy, or I am too masculine – too many opinions, my body is too strong.
“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.'”
And finally: “‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, mama.'”
Naturally, the crowd went wild.
“So, baby, girl,” she finished, “we don’t change.
“We take the gravel and the shell, and we make a pearl.
“And we help other people to change, so that they can see more kinds of beauty.”
After telling the audience that the world of music was changing in an encouraging fashion for gender expression, she had one last message for Willow.
“You, my darling girl, are beautiful, and I love you.”
MTV hit back at President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military by inviting trans service people to the awards show.
The company has taken multiple stances in support of LGBT+ rights over the past few months.
It announced that its VMA categories and awards would be gender-neutral, with the statue formerly known as Moonman now going by Moon Person.
MTV backed a campaign featuring RuPaul, Rita Ora and Lena Dunham which called attention to the gay purge in Chechnya.
And it sparked controversy earlier this year by adopting gender-neutral categories for its films and TV awards for the first time.
Watch P!nk’s full speech here:
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