I’ve always been a fan and fierce supporter of Pink.
After all, she’s not only been the mastermind behind a plethora hit songs over the last couple of decades, but she’s also an outspoken feminist and inspiring mom of two. I didn’t know it was possible to love her more, but last night, she managed to win even more of my admiration—and many others’—in her inspiring speech at the MTV Video Music Awards.
In it, Pink had an empowering message for her daughter, and it’s the kind of message that should be required reading for all kids.
At the awards show, Pink was recognized with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for her sizable artistic contributions and influence on the music scene over the years. Before accepting the award, she took to the stage to perform a medley of her greatest hits, during which she drove past her suited-up 6-year-old daughter, Willow Sage Hart, and gave her a high-five.
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As she accepted the Vanguard Award—which was presented to her by Ellen DeGeneres, no less—Pink told the audience a touching tale about teaching her daughter to love herself.
“I know I don’t have a lot of time, but if I may tell you a quick story…” she started.
She then recounted a day when, as she drove her daughter to school, Willow said, “I’m the ugliest girl I know. … I look like a boy with long hair.”
That’s a heartbreaking thing for any mother to hear, and Pink’s first thought—of course—was to defend her daughter. “My brain went to, ‘Oh my god, you’re six, where is this coming from? Who said this? Can I kick a 6-year-old’s a—?'” she said, before continuing:
But I didn’t say anything, and instead I went home and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her, and in that presentation, there 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.
Pink then told her daughter that she, too, had been called a boy many times in her life. She explained: “When people make fun of me, that’s what they use—they say I look like a boy or that I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions or my body is too strong and I said to [Willow], ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me changing my body? ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world? ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world? ‘Yes, Mama.'”
She left the audience with an important lesson—which was directed at her daughter, but should be required listening for everyone.
“So, baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl,” she said. “We help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty. And to all of the artists here, I am so inspired by all of you. Thank you for being your true selves. And for lighting the way for us.”
If Pink’s VMA speech is anything to go by, Willow is going to be the most grounded, well-brought-up child ever—and Pink’s upcoming album is going to be one of her best yet, as Pink keeps growing as a beautiful human and mom. “Beautiful Trauma“ is out on Oct. 13, 2017.