“This is so cool. This means a lot to me,” the 34-year-old singer, who sported several different looks with matching masks during the evening, began. “I’ve been making music since I was a little girl. And 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’ve failed over and over again as an actress and as a musician when I was young. So I gave back to the local community through service as a young woman in New York, philanthropy became a much bigger part of my life as a star and I started the Born This Way foundation with my mother.”
Gaga went on to acknowledge that it’s been a difficult year.
“Everybody at home, that is their own form of a Tricon, 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,” she said. “This has not been an easy year for a lot of people. What I see in the world is a massive triumph of courage. I also hope that 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 are separated right now, and culture may feel less alive in some ways. I know a renaissance is coming, and the wrath of pop culture will inspire you.”
Gaga concluded her speech with a message for viewers amid the coronavirus pandemic: “Wear a mask. It’s a sign of respect.”
Earlier in the evening, Gaga accepted Best Collaboration for her hit “Rain On Me” with Ariana Grande.
“This means the world. Ariana and I really connected through this song,” she gushed. “Me and Ariana are truly soul sisters. Girl, this is for us. We’ve both been through some s—t together, but we were willing to share that with each other, and Ari, I love you. I feel like when we were both in the studio, we turned our tears, that felt like endless rainfall, into diamonds. I will treasure those diamonds with you forever, honey.”
The two women, who performed their hit single during the show, also won Song of the Year. Gaga and Grande, 27, who lead the pack of nominations with nine each, are up for the show’s top honor, Video of the Year.
Sunday marked the first time MTV handed out a Tricon award instead of the coveted Video Vanguard Award. Past Video Vanguard Award winners include Missy Elliott (2019), Jennifer Lopez (2018), Pink (2017), Rihanna (2016), Kanye West (2015) and Beyoncé (2014).