Following his shock death at the age of 43 after battling colon cancer, the 2020 MTV VMAs have dedicated this year’s event to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
As the show began, host Keke Palmer gave a touching speech via video honour of the actor, who was confirmed to have died last Friday after battling cancer since 2016.
“Before we get into the music tonight, we need to talk about the devastating loss of Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose talent and passion is a true inspiration to all the fan1s he touched and everyone he encountered,” Palmer said of the actor.
She added: “We dedicate tonight’s show to a man whose spirit touched so many. He is a true hero. Not just on-screen but in everything he did. His impact lives forever.”
The unexpected announcement of Boseman’s death came in a statement from the star’s family, who confirmed that his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, was by his side when he passed and that Boseman had worked on several projects while undergoing treatment.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the statement read. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more- all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honour of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
Palmer also noted the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement in her introduction for the 2020 MTV VMAs, calling it one of this year’s “incredible moments of inspiration”.
“As rough as it’s been, there have been incredible moments of inspiration that have given my generation hope,” said Palmer.
“We’ve seen heroes going above and beyond, whether they drive a delivery truck, work at a grocery store, or serve on the front lines in a hospital. And with the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve seen our generation step up, take to the streets, and make sure our voices will be heard. Enough is enough!”
“We must continue the fight to end systemic racism,” she said, urging viewers to come together to effect change.
“Music has that power. Music can help us heal,” she said. “It’s all love, and that’s what tonight is about.”