If you happened to be sitting in front of your television Sunday night, there was plenty to watch. Anything from the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones to MTV’s VMAs. During MTV’s annual award show, Pink took home the Michael Jackson Vanguard Video Award, and stole the night with a heartfelt speech on self-love and acceptance. In front of an audience of her peers and millions of viewers at home, Pink addressed the importance of changing the narrow perception of beauty perpetuated by society.
Pink began her speech with a conversation she had with her six-year-old daughter, Willow Sage Hart, on the way to school. “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.’ I said, ‘Huh?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’”
Pink continued, “…I went home, and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her. And in that presentation were androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us. And these are artists like Michael Jackson and David Bowie and Freddy Mercury and Annie Lennox, and Prince and Janis Joplin and George Michael, Elton John. So many artists.”
At times the recipient of harsh criticism over her appearance, Pink reflected on her own personal experiences. “When people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say that I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions. My body is too strong.”
But her answer to all the haters was brilliant. “Do you see me changing my body? Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world? Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?”
The crowd erupted.
“So, baby girl,” she concludes, “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. And to all the artists here, 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 shit happening right now in music. And keep doing it, keep shining for the rest of us to see. And you, my darling girl, are beautiful, and I love you.”
In the midst of a world torn by hate and a country torn by a leader who capitalizes on bigotry and divisiveness, a message of love and acceptance is the breath of fresh air we all need. Artists like Pink have the platform and the ability to not only affect change, but to inspire us all to see the beauty in others.