Lady Gaga Says the 'Wrath of Pop Will Inspire You' While Accepting MTV VMA's TRICON Award

"Wear a mask — it's a sign of respect," Lady Gaga added while accepting the inaugural award

lady gaga
Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga is the MTV VMA's first-ever TRICON award winner.

On Sunday, the pop star, 34, was presented the honor during the annual awards show by Bella Hadid and called it "so cool."

"This means a lot to me," Gaga said. "It means more to me than you probably even realize. I've been making music since I was a little girl. Even though I had really, really big dreams, I truly never could have imagined that someday I would be given an award like this that honored me for so many of my passions."

"I want you to know I failed over and over again as an actress and as a musician when I was young, and though I gave back to the community through service as a young woman in New York, philanthropy became a much bigger part of my life as a star," she continued. "I started the Born This Way Foundation with my mother Cynthia once my record broke."

Gaga went on to say she wanted to "share this award with everybody at home tonight."

"Everybody who is their own form of a TRICON," she said. "I wish for you to think right now of three things that define who you are and take a moment to reward yourself for your bravery. This has not been an easy year for a lot of people, but what I see in the world is a massive triumph of courage. I also hope the people at home that have big dreams, I hope they see me here today accepting this award and know how grateful I am. I want you to know that you can do this too."

"Just because we're separated right now, culture may feel less alive in some ways," she added. "I know a renaissance is coming and the wrath of pop culture will inspire you and the rage of art will empower you as it responds to hardship with generosity and love. This is what I believe. I want nothing more than to be your artist in 2020. It's a total privilege. Stay safe. Speak your mind. And I might sound like a broken record, but wear a mask — it's a sign of respect."

After winning the TRICON award, Gaga wrote on Twitter, "Couldn't have received an award like this without everyone I love. Thank you for supporting and loving me. I love the world so much."

Earlier in the night, Gaga performed a medley of tracks from her acclaimed new album, Chromatica, complete with multiple costume changes and a cameo from duet partner Ariana Grande.

Gaga kicked off her performance taking the remote stage as her orchestral interlude, "Chromatica II," began playing. The song then transitioned into the fan-favorite "911," as Gaga — flanked by a troupe of backup dancers — sang and danced in a silver wig, mint-green bra top and harness bottoms, accessorized with a mask.

Check out PEOPLE's full MTV VMAs coverage to get the latest news on one of music's biggest nights.

As "911" ended, the camera panned to Gaga lying on the floor, now wearing the pink get-up from her "Rain on Me" music video, and Grande joined Gaga on stage for their debut performance of the hit single.

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande
Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande perform at the VMAs.

To conclude her electric set, Gaga made one more costume change, this time rocking a glittering pink bodysuit. She then climbed atop a staircase and took her seat at a brain-shaped piano, where she began belting a soulful, stripped-down version of Chromatica's lead single "Stupid Love."

Gaga then stepped away from the piano and, before joining her crew for one last dance-off, addressed viewers, saying: "I want you to love yourself, tonight and every night. Celebrate yourself. Love who you are. Be kind. Mask up. Be brave — and braver all the time."

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This was Gaga's first performance at the VMAs since 2013 — and her first performance for Chromatica, which was released amid the coronavirus crisis. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 MTV award show, which was originally set to take place at New York City's Barclays Center, was broadcast virtually.

Together, Gaga and Grande, 27, won for best collaboration — and Gaga also took home best song and best artist honors.

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards aired from New York City on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.

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