NEW YORK: Beyonce on Sunday dominated the MTV Video Music Awards as she took home top prizes and awed the audience in a fiery dance medley with a subtle political touch.
The pop superstar won Video of the Year for “Formation,” the most outspoken work of her career, as well as Best Female Video for “Hold Up.”
The two tracks appeared on “Lemonade,” Beyonce’s latest album which she released in a surprise tie-in with a film of the same name that paid tribute to African American women.
Beyonce stole the spotlight at the gala party in New York’s Madison Square Garden by performing a “Lemonade” medley of more than 16 minutes, managing even to change outfits in a set that culminated in the stage erupting in fire.
In one of the most striking moments, the sound of a single gun-shot rang out as her circle of angelic-clad dancers each collapsed in a fog of red.
“Formation,” directed by Melina Matsoukas, offered solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality with officers depicted raising their hands as if under arrest.
“I dedicate this award to the people of New Orleans. God bless you guys,” Beyonce said as she accepted the award for “Formation,” which was musically inspired by the southern city’s bounce hip-hop scene.
Beyonce arrived at the show, broadcast to more than 120 countries from New York’s Madison Square Garden, with the mothers of four young African American men whose deaths have galvanized the United States — Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin.
Martin, 17, was killed in 2012 by a white neighborhood guard, a catalyst moment for Black Lives Matter. Brown, Garner and Grant were all killed by law enforcement.