Alicia Keys showed up to the MTV Video Music Awards 2016 without makeup (making good on her no-makeup promise), but that didn’t even count as her most radical statement. When Keys walked on stage to present the award for Best Male Video, she took the opportunity to make a powerful statement. August 28 happened to mark the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Keys used the anniversary as a jumping off point to recite an original poem that touched on race and sexuality and the framework of inequality that surrounds them.
“If war is holy and sex is obscene, then we got it twisted in this lucid dream,” she said to a rapt audience. But Keys’ spoken soon rose into soaring a capella. “Maybe we can love somebody,” she sang to a rapt audience. Maybe we can care a little more.” At this point, not a single person was sitting, and you can see why above.