During last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus came in like a wrecking ball (seriously) with her twerk-tastic performance of “We Can’t Stop.” This year, she broke through the din of the award show more quietly, but with tangible impact, asking a formerly homeless man named Jesse to accept her Video of the Year Award on behalf an organization dedicated to helping runaways and homeless youth.
Miley previously caused Internet whispers when she shared a photo of a mysterious blond man, calling him her “date,” earlier in the evening — a man who turned out to be Jesse. When Jimmy Fallon announced that she had won the iconic award for her Terry Richardson-directed video, Jesse came to the stage instead, saying, plainly, “My name is Jesse and I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I am one of these people.”
Cyrus looked on tearfully while Jesse detailed his struggles, adding, “Los Angeles, entertainment capital, has the largest population of homeless youth in America. The music industry will make over $7 million this year and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.”
Jesse then instructed fans to go to Miley’s Facebook page, where she’s asking folks to donate money to My Friend’s Place, a homeless shelter in Hollywood.
Cue tears to rival the ones rolling down Miley’s face in her “Wrecking Ball” video.
With her first-ever VMA win, Miley beat out some heavy-hitters, including Beyoncé ft. Jay Z, with “Drunk In Love,” Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX with “Fancy,” Pharrell Williams with “Happy,” and Sia with “Chandelier.”