The Weeknd calls for justice for Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake in VMAs 2020 speech

The Weeknd made the most of the VMAs 2020.

Not only did he open the show by performing “Blinding Lights” from Hudson Yards, but while accepting the award for Best R&B video, he somberly called for justice for Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake.

The singer — whose real name is Abel Tesfaye — was still sporting his bruised-and-bloody makeup-look that gave some fans a shock when he was out and about in New York pre-VMAs when he accepted the moon person statuette to the canned cheers and applause that were the hallmark of the pandemic-impacted show all evening.

Tesfaye, 30, began by thanking his collaborators for the clip, Anton Tammi and La Mar Taylor, before saying, “It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so I’m just gonna say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor. Thank you.”

Blake and Taylor’s shooting by police — fatally, in Taylor’s case — have, along with the death of George Floyd, become rallying points for Black Lives Matter protests around the world this summer. Blake, 29, was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 23, while Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was sleeping when police burst into her home at 1 a.m. on March 13 and opened fire, hitting her at least eight times.

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