MTV VMAs 2014: Awards show airs tribute to Ferguson and Michael Brown

Among the cartoonish fun, there was also a serious social message

Jenn Selby
Tuesday 26 August 2014 09:30 BST

Nicki Minaj turned up dressed as a snake. Rita Ora’s expression during her performance was priceless. Katy Perry and Riff Raff paid homage to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in the most horrific double denim outfits seen this side of the 90s.

But among the cartoonish fun, there was also a serious social message at this year’s MTV VMAs.

Speaking in a statement shortly before the awards were underway, MTV President Stephen Friedman confirmed that the network would air a 15-second tribute to Michael Brown and the unrest in Ferguson.

He hoped that the clip, which focused on the issue of racial inequality in the United States, would spur further discussion about events surrounding the shooting dead of the unarmed 19-year-old by a police officer in Missouri on 9 August.

“It's a call to action to our audience that we have to confront our own bias head-on before we can truly create change,” he said.

The announcement only added to the buildup of what is annually one of music's most dramatic and unpredictable awards shows.

Days before the big show, Azalea fell off stage while performing "Fancy" at a MTV benefit concert, later posting the video on Instagram and making fun of herself. More seriously, a six-foot (1.83-meter)-long boa constrictor bit a background dancer during a rehearsal for Minaj's performance of "Anaconda," MTV News reported. MTV said Minaj was onstage, and the female dancer was treated onsite and transported to a hospital.

Video: Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J perform

At another rehearsal, a show worker fell from one of the winding, sloping platforms on the stage at the Forum in Inglewood, California, which reopened in January after a $100 million makeover. And rap mogul Suge Knight was injured in a shooting early Sunday at a West Hollywood nightclub for an unofficial pre-VMA party hosted by Chris Brown.

Additional reporting by PA

Watch the 2014 MTV VMAs Monday at 9pm on MTV UK
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