Five Reasons VMAs Give Me Hope for the Future

This year’s MTV Video Awards show gives me hope for the future.

A middle-aged female African-American icon was finally recognized for her contribution and absolutely killed it on stage.

Earlier this year, Missy Elliot was the first female hip hop artist inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and this week she was awarded the long overdue MTV Vanguard Award for her contribution to hip hop music, culture and fashion–not to mention paving the way for future female rappers.

The privileged white girl stood up and invited in.

Taylor Swift not only stood up and spoke out for the LGBTQ community, but included the community in her creative process and recognized their contribution in a most public way. Sure, she was at the center of it all, but because she chose to share spotlight with drag queens who celebrate who they are, more than one kid in Anytown, USA is feeling better about who they are today.

Lizzo schooled us on feeling good about ourselves.

If you can’t love yourself because you are a beloved child of God, wonderfully and fearfully made, then do it so you don’t let Lizzo down. She is working hard to make sure we all know we are enough and deserve to love who we are.

Language warning.

The Song of the Year was sung by an African-American, gay man who turned country music on its ear this year.

Latin music was all over the place.

Not only were J Balvin and Bad Bunny jumping around on the stage like, well…bad (and kinda weird) bunnies, they, along with Rosalia and Ozuna performed songs in their original languages. No subtitles. No translations. Just great music.

Why does an over-the-top, outrageously expensive, exhibitionist awards show give me hope for the future? Because it celebrates who and what we should be celebrating. A richly diverse country where women and people of color are recognized for their contributions, where the traditions of other nations are embraced and incorporated rather than seen as a threat and where people are celebrated for who they are–not who we’d like for them to be.

If hedonistic MTV can get that right, surely good Christian folks like us can get there, too.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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