Pink gave an inspiring speech about her daughter and self-acceptance while accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award during the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night.
Speaking after performing a medley of her biggest hits (including new single “What About Us”), Pink recalled a conversation she had with her daughter Willow, age 6.
“If I may tell you a quick story: Recently, I was driving my daughter to school, and she said to me out of the blue, ‘Mama … I’m the ugliest girl I know,” Pink told the VMAs audience. “‘I look like a boy with long hair.'” After joking that she had thoughts about beating up another 6-year-old who might have insulted her daughter, Pink continued, “I went home and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her. And in that presentation were androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us. These are artists like Michael Jackson and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Annie Lennox and Prince and Janis Joplin and George Michael, Elton John, so many artists. So many artists. Her eyes glazed over.”
Pink then said she asked her daughter why the youngster felt like the “ugliest girl.”
“She said, ‘I look like a boy.’ I said, ‘What do you think I look like?’ She said, ‘Well you’re beautiful,'” Pink said. “I said, ‘Well, thanks, but when people make fun of me that’s what they use. They say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions. My body is too strong.'”
The singer then asked her daughter if she ever sees Pink changing her looks or how she presents herself to the world. The answers were no. Pink added, “Baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. We help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty.”
Before accepting her award, Pink performed a rousing medley of her past hits, including “Get The Party Started,” “Raise Your Glass,” and “So What,” as well as her politically charged new single “What About Us.” The track is featured on her first album since 2012, Beautiful Trauma, out Oct. 13.
The video for “What About Us,” which debuted earlier this month, delivers a strong political message with the presence of police cars and helicopters. It also features audio of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s keynote speech at the Republican National Convention, where he said, “We are going to reject hate! We are going to reject racism!”
The award marks the seventh VMA for Pink, including the 2001 Video of the Year prize she shares with Christina Aguilera, Mya, and Lil’ Kim for “Lady Marmalade.”
After the speech, Pink shared a video of Willow singing along with her mother’s music.