It started with 21-year-old singer Lauren Jauregui, one of the four members of Fifth Harmony. As the pop quartet accepted the prize for Choice Summer Group, she took the microphone to address viewers.
“In light of recent events, we just want to say to all of the young ones at home watching, no matter who you are, where you come from or what you look like, you are beautiful, and you are important,” she said, as the audience broke out in applause and cheers. “So keep spreading love and positivity, alright? God bless.”
Disney actress Zendaya, 21, is already a well-known activist. When she won Choice Summer Movie Actress for her role in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” she spent most of her time making a statement directed at young fans.
“With all the injustice and the hatred and everything that is happening — not only in the world, but in our country right now — I need for for you young people, I need you guys to be educated, I need you to listen, I need you to pay attention,” she said. “And I need you to go ahead and understand that you have a voice and it is okay to use it when you see something bad happening. So make sure that you stay educated and you do not let people tell you what you think you should feel.”
She continued, also earning big cheers: “We are the future leaders of the world. You are the future presidents, you are the future senators. And you are the ones who are going to make this world better. So I’m just letting you know right now, that you are the future, okay? So take that very, very seriously.”
When 17-year-old Yara Shahidi of ABC’s “Blackish” arrived to introduce Bruno Mars, who won the Visionary Award, she also got in a reference to current events.
“With everything that’s happening in the world, it’s so important that we use our platforms as Gen Z to spread this love that is so crucial right now,” she said.
Pop star Miley Cyrus, who was supposed to attend the ceremony to accept the Ultimate Choice Award, was a sudden no-show. Earlier in the day, she tweeted a photo of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old killed when a car slammed into a group of people protesting the rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” Cyrus wrote, quoting Heyers’s final words on Facebook. “Sending love to all and healing to those injured!”