After beating out Chloe x Halle, H.E.R., Alicia Keys, Khalid, and Lizzo in the category, the “Blinding Lights” singer somberly accepted the award at the virtually produced awards show.
In a clip from his acceptance speech posted on the official MTV Instagram page, the 30-year-old musical artist, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, wore a red jacket and bloodied makeup as he thanked his collaborators Anton Tammi and La Mar Taylor for their work on the video.
The Weeknd then admitted he was having a hard time enjoying his VMA win because of the recent, horrific events involving police violence against the Black community.
“It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so I’m just gonna say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor. Thank you.”
In March, Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT from Louisville, Kentucky, was shot and killed by police who came into her home while she slept. Jacob Blake, 29, was shot seven times by officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week as he got into his car while his children watched in horror.
In the comments section of the post, several fans used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag as they reacted to The Weeknd’s short acceptance speech, which was capped off by fake applause in the virtual ceremony.
“Love this. Black Lives Matter,” one fan wrote.
“Good on him for mentioning these victims of police violence. You’re a great person,” another added.
“Powerful indeed,” a third fan wrote.
Others were confused by the singer’s makeup and questioned his bloodied and bruised look, which can be seen below.
Fans of The Weeknd know that the look was part of his video and album, After Hours. The singer wore the same red suit and makeup in the short film, which dropped March 4. He also appeared on Saturday Night Live in the getup earlier this year.
At the 2020 VMAs, The Weeknd also won the prestigious Video of the Year award for “Blinding Lights,” beating out an impressive list of competing videos by Billie Eilish, Eminem, Future, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande.
In a separate Instagram post, which can be seen here, he later added a few words to his speech.
“I forgot to thank my fans,” The Weeknd wrote. ” None of this exists without ya’ll. Xo.”