Alessia Cara left the VMAs this past weekend with some serious hardware, taking home her first two Moon Person trophies ever. Not only did the singer win Best Dance for her and Zedd’s “Stay,” but she was also one of five winners in the newly revamped Best Fight Against the System category, which honors music videos with timely social messages.
Cara spoke about the latter award with MTV News correspondent Gaby Wilson, saying, “I think it was such an amazing thing that they gave it to everybody, because I feel like everybody who speaks their truth... deserves to be recognized. It’s important that we all speak up for certain things that we believe in and against certain things that we don’t. Thank you to all the artists who are doing that and using their privilege and using their platforms.”
In Cara’s case, it was her self-empowerment anthem “Scars to Your Beautiful” that earned her the coveted award. Though she didn’t get to make an acceptance speech onstage, she relayed to MTV News the message she wants her fans to hear.
“Just wanted to say, if there’s anybody out there who feels like they’re not good enough or feels like they are judged or ridiculed for being who they are, it’s important to turn off all the noise and remind yourself why you’re great,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to challenge people, love yourself, and I think we’re all better when we love ourselves and when we love each other.”
That sentiment came through loud and clear with Cara’s stunning VMA performance of “Scars to Your Beautiful.” Initially appearing in a fancy red gown and black wig, Cara was quickly undressed by black-clad dancers to reveal a more modest black tank and pants.
“Being a young woman in the industry, there are so many expectations that are placed on me every single day,” Cara said. “I really wanted to make a personal statement this time, and start off with, ‘this is how everybody wants me to be, apparently,’ but that’s not me. This is who I am. Just stripping down the layers and showing everyone that you can be successful and be at the VMAs just being yourself. And if yourself is wearing gowns like that, then do that. But if it’s not, then you don’t have to do that. That’s what I’m trying to show people.”