On Sunday, the MTV Video Music Awards took place, something that I used to watch with regularity when I was a teenager, and now is a show featuring people I have never heard of playing songs I don’t know, and basically a celebration of making me feel tremendously old. I did tune in though, because Pink, one of my favorite artists, was accepting the Video Vanguard Award. Little did I know that her acceptance speech would be a call to people everywhere, especially children, to love themselves just the way they are. Yes, in the vein of Mister Rogers, Pink used her speech to show children that they are wonderful and loved exactly how they are, and that they are, in the words of one of her hit songs, “F****** perfect.”
She began her speech by telling the audience about a conversation she had with her six year old daughter Willow on the way to school. Willow told her that she was the ugliest girl in school, and that she looked like a boy with long hair. Pink of course was shocked that her daughter would think this, and went home to make a PowerPoint presentation about how androgynous artists like David Bowie, Prince, Janis Joplin, Annie Lennox, and herself were successful and loved around the world. She then showed the presentation to her daughter, saying that she was perfect, she was beautiful and loved, and loving herself was the most important thing she could ever do. It was one of the best award acceptance speeches I have ever seen.
In a world where selfies rule, and physical appearance is so celebrated, we are lucky to have someone like Pink to remind us that boosting our children up instead of tearing them down is so vital to their emotional growth. She could have talked about anything in her speech, but she chose to make it a teaching moment, not only for little Willow, but for all of us. And for that, I thank her. You can watch the entire speech here: