Stars make bold political statements on the red carpet at the MTV VMAs

By Kaitlyn Frey
August 28, 2017 07:00 AM
Credit: John Shearer/Getty

This year’s MTV VMAs show was full of political messages. And wasn’t just what you saw on TV — it started on the red carpet.

First, Catfish host Nev Schulman chose to wear a yellow Star of David patch on his blazer — a reference to the yellow stars Jews across Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe were forced to wear to signify their faith — as a statement against the growing neo-Nazi and white nationalism movement.

This comes just several days after Billy Joel did the same thing, donning yellow Star of David patches on his label and back during a performance at N.Y.C.’s Madison Square Garden. In World War II, the public identification by the yellow star preceded mass-murder in Nazi concentration camps, which led to the deaths of six million Jews.

Schulman, who’s of Jewish descent, wore the yellow Star of David patch on the left side of his brick red blazer, along with another heart patch above it to MTV’s Video Music Awards. His wife Laura Perlongo, who he wed last month, sported the same heart patch on the shoulder of her white crop top to the show.

FROM COINAGE: VMAs By the Numbers

The star’s decision to wear the patch comes just weeks after the tumultuous “Unite the Right”‘ rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one counter-protester dead.

Credit: Rich Fury/Getty

Jack Antonoff joined him in making a declarative statement about his Jewish faith by wearing a Star of David pendant, which girlfirend Lena Dunham tweeted “was ordered from Amazon the moment Nazis became a f—ing mainstream thing again.”

Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Hip-hop artist Lizzo also opted for a statement making look.

The singer’s white tulle and silk dress featured the phrase “TRUTH HURTS” on the side. Each letter was a different shade of the rainbow. Lizzo completed her bold outfit with a jewel-encurested tiara and multicolored veil.

Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Looking for more style content? Click here to subscribe to the PeopleStyle Newsletter for amazing shopping discounts, can’t-live-without beauty products and more.

Black Eyed Peas rapper Taboo dressed with a message in mind as well.

He hit the red carpet wearing a traditional Shoshone Native American outfit, which featured intricate beadwork and a black beaded hat.

Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The star, whose mother’s side of the family is Shoshone, is nominated in the Video Music Awards’ newest category, Best Fight Against the System, which highlights songs that represent specific movements and timely social justice issues. His single “Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” focuses on fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline route near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The song not only brings to light the fight at Standing Rock, but also the marginalization Native Americans currently face in the United States.

Taboo performs the single with Spencer and Zack Battiest, two artists who live and record on the Seminole Tribe of Florida reservation. The video also includes footage of the Standing Rock protest and confrontations with police on the Sioux reservation that spreads across North and South Dakota.

Credit: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

Melanie Brown also had a message to share, and she used her dress to do it. The sparkly V-neck design she wore said “You Will Never Own Me.” This declaration comes after the pop star’s ongoing divorce proceedings with estranged husband Stephen Belafonte.

Also, MTV invited a group of transgender military members and veterans to walk the carpet with leaders of GLAAD and SPARTA, an LGBTQ service members and veterans group. MTV asked the transgender military members to join the show after President Trump Friday ordered the Department of Defense to reverse a 2016 order allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military.

During the show, the political style statements continued on stage.

Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Pink, who has been vocal throughout her whole career, of course made a statement during the performance before accepting her Video Vanguard Award. She wore a white jumpsuit that had a red ribbon handing around the waist with the words “Wake the FU*#! Up” on it.

What do you think about all the political statements stars made on the red carpet at this year’s VMAs? Sound off in the comments below.