Lizzo performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Movie and TV AwardsIllustration: Kevin Winter (Getty Images for MTV)
The MTV Movie & TV Awards are a lot.
Part spectacle, part accolade, it essentially serves as an annual ode to Viacom’s colorful cast of characters and unheralded heroes. From the expansive Love and Hip-Hip fraternity to generations of Real World housemates, it can best be described as a couch potato’s wonderland.
But what happens when you sprinkle in a little outside Hollywood influence? A dash of Marvel movie magic here, maybe a hint of sports entertainment there… What it lacks in prestige, it more than makes up for in heart. That signature charm and eccentricity was on full display during Monday night’s festivities.
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The Glow Up Managing Editor Maiysha Kai masterfully covered the countless styles on display on the red carpet, while I had the luxury of speaking to some of the celebrities in attendance upon their arrival.
Best Movie nominees Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph, co-stars of the genre-redefining Us, were ecstatic to be honored at the ceremony.
“It’s really fun,” Alex told The Root. “Our nominations for both Best Villain and Best Movie are really hard because we’re going against Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but I love it.”
Wright Joseph revealed her delight at being called “Jordan’s Peele’s new scream queen” for her breakout roles as Zora Wilson and Umbrae, before telling The Root how she drew inspiration from Skai Jackson while pursuing her dream to become an actress.
I also spoke with The Real World: Atlanta castmate Justin Blu, who used the red carpet as an opportunity to discuss racial inequities and the criminal justice system while donning a “Sandra Bland Was Murdered” t-shirt.
“It would be a tragedy for me to come out here with an opportunity like [The MTV Move & TV Awards] and just smile and take pictures when it’s people that’s dying,” Blu said. “That’s one of the main reasons that I chose to go and do The Real World. I knew that my voice was necessary for many other people. So I went there trying to represent us and speak out about what’s going on in our communities and in the nation as a whole.”
While the red carpet was bustling with energy and great soundbites, the award ceremony itself had more than its fair share of highlights.
When Jada Pinkett Smith accepted the Trailblazer Award, which was presented by her Girls Trip co-star Tiffany Haddish, she delivered a riveting speech that stirred the souls of those in attendance.
“Often we applaud the trails people blaze in the external world that we can see, but very rarely do we applaud the trails that are blazed in the hidden rooms of the mind that are full of uncertainty, false beliefs and pain,” she told the crowd. “It’s these internal obstacles that must be challenged in order to muster the courage to forge new paths that we can see in the world.”
Also Ray J caught an unnecessary stray from host Zachary Levi, who quipped, “America’s other sweetheart Ray J is here. I’m sure some of you are more familiar with his work as a cameraman”—a clear jab at the Love and Hip-Hip: Hollywood star’s infamous sex tape with Kim Kardashian West.
But the true jaw dropper of the night came when Lizzo channeled The Ghost of Sister Act 2 Past and delivered the viral moment we didn’t know we deserved while performing her hit “Juice.”
Words can’t do this performance justice, so just watch the clip yourself and prepare to be amazed.
Kudos to MTV for once again knocking their Movie & TV Award Show out the park.
For a full list of Monday nights winners and nominees, visit MTV.