‘Black Panther’ star honoured at MTV Video Music Awards

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The MTV Video Music Awards has paid tribute to the Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, following his death at the age of 43.

Host Keke Palmer opened the ceremony by dedicating it to Boseman, following his death on Friday after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

Lady Gaga, who went into the show sharing a leading nine nominations with Ariana Grande, stormed the ceremony with a series of visually arresting outfits, masked performances and four wins, including artist of the year. 

In the fan-voted show, Gaga and Grande also won two awards for their collaboration Rain On Me, while Gaga was given a new lifetime achievement trophy, called the Tricon Award.

"This has not been an easy year for a lot of people," Gaga said. "Stay safe, speak your minds, and I might sound like a broken record but wear a mask."

The VMAs marked the first major US awards show to take place during the coronavirus pandemic. It was filmed without a live audience and with most of the performances recorded in advance because of health guidelines.

America's national reckoning over systemic racism was also on the minds of performers and presenters after months of street protests over the deaths of Black people at the hands of police.

"It's our time to be the change we want to see," said Palmer. "We need to come together, and music has that power."

Canadian artist The Weeknd, who won the video of the year and best R&B video for Blinding Lights, opened the show with a performance on a 1,000 feet high deck overlooking Manhattan, but said he was not in the mood for partying.

"It's really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so I'm just going to say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor," he said, referring to the recent police shootings of Blake and Taylor.

The VMAs also recognised essential workers at the frontlines of the outbreak, and handed out trophies to Grande, Justin Bieber and Latin American boy band CNCO for music recorded during coronavirus lockdowns.

K-Pop sensation BTS made their debut performance at the VMAs, singing their new single Dynamite, and the seven-member boy band won all four of the awards they were nominated for - best group, pop group, K-pop artist and choreography. 

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