MTV EMAs show in Hungary highlights support for LGBTQ people

BUDAPEST (Hungary) -- A night of pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes, and aerial acrobatics ruled Sunday's 2021 MTV European Music Awards show. The ceremony was held in Budapest, Hungary, and celebrated the year's most influential musicians and provided support for the LGBTQ community in the host country.

MTV EMAs show in Hungary highlights support for LGBTQ people

BUDAPEST (Hungary) -- A night of pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes, and aerial acrobatics ruled Sunday's 2021 MTV European Music Awards show. The ceremony was held in Budapest, Hungary, and celebrated the year's most influential musicians and provided support for the LGBTQ community in the host country.

15 November 2021 Monday 15:31
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MTV EMAs show in Hungary highlights support for LGBTQ people

BUDAPEST (Hungary) -- A night of pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes, and aerial acrobatics ruled Sunday's 2021 MTV European Music Awards show. The ceremony was held in Budapest, Hungary, and celebrated the year's most influential musicians and provided support for the LGBTQ community in the host country.

The live broadcast of the show from Budapest's Papp Laszlo Sportsarena aired on MTV in 180 different countries. It featured performances by some the most well-known artists around the world, including LGBTQ musicians. They used their stage time in protest of policies in Hungary that widely consider to be limiting LGBTQ rights.

Ed Sheeran, an English singer-songwriter, opened the evening with a performance "Overpass Graffiti". Then Sawetie, an American rapper, rode a giant snowflake to the stage and performed her own song selections.

After speaking out about the need to show respect for the LGBTQ community, Sawetie presented Sheeran the award for best art.

Later, Sheeran's chart-topping hit song "Bad Habits," which was released on his fifth studio album this year, won the award for best song. The British singer also performed "Shivers."

American rapper Lil Nas X won the best video prize for his video "MONTERO" (Call Me By Your Name), which he co-directed along with Tanu Muino, a Ukrainian music video director. The rapper accepted via video message.

Lil Nas X's win, who came out in 2019 as gay, highlighted the rift between MTV EMAs, Hungary's right-wing government and the MTV EMAs. was hit hard by backlash after it passed a law prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality to minors.

Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group Worldwide, announced in October that the awards show would take place in Budapest. He said that it would be an opportunity for the organization to stand up for transgender civil rights in a Central European country that has attempted to curb them.

McCarthy stated that they were looking forward to the event and would stand in solidarity for our LGBTQ siblings in an interview with The Associated Press. McCarthy also said that there would not be any censorship of the telecast.

The EMAs debut by Kim Petras (German musician, first transgender performer in awards history) was another expression of solidarity.

Petras supported MTV's decision in Hungary to host the awards earlier this month. She said that she hoped it would encourage the local LGBTQ community "not to give up on their dreams."

Petras stated, "I'm transgender performing at the EMAs." "It will be quite powerful to perform in Hungary when these laws just passed."

Petras stated that "censorship of any type of love sucks" in an interview she did with the AP on Sunday. It is not good. It's not okay to feel like you aren't being represented in media. It's okay to be yourself."

The EMAs also featured a performance by the Norwegian indie-pop act girl in red with their hit single "Serotonin." American pop-rock band One Republic performed the previous evening at the MTV World Stage in Budapest's Heroes Square.

Maneskin, an Italian band and first-time EMA performer, won the best rock award. He took the stage in a blaze of sparks and a neon sign displaying the name of their song "MAMMAMIA".

South Korean pop group BTS won the most awards, with four -- best K-pop, best group, and largest fans -- while Sawetie, the host, was awarded the "best new" category.

Taking the best alternative award was English multi-instrumentalist and singer YUNGBLUD, who closed the night with his newest single, "fleabag." Columns of fire erupted during the performance, and a smashed guitar and overturned amplifiers were all that were left once YUNGBLUD left the stage.

During the show, EMAs honored the winners of "Generation Change Award," a category that honors five activists who have been fighting against anti-LGBTQ policies around the world.

Drew Barrymore, actress and talk show host, honored the winners with a video message. Barrymore said that the winners are doing "incredible work for the LGBTQ+ community."

"I'm proud to be able to lift up these young voices. Barrymore stated that they all are asking for love, no matter what their preferences are.

These were LGBTQ activists from Brazil, Nigeria, Brazil and the United States. Viktoria Radvanyi from Hungary, an organizer for Budapest Pride, accepted the Generation Change Award personally.

Radvanyi gave the award to Hungary’s LGBTQ community. He also urged them "get out to vote together" in Hungarian elections set for April. This is where Hungary's right-wing government party faces its greatest challenge since 2010.

Radvanyi stated, "Never accept that you should tolerate violence or discrimination." Radvanyi stated that "every single human being is equal."

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