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Taylor Swift Won Big and Pushed the Equality Act at the 2019 VMAs

Taylor Swift holds an award onstage, surrounded by people from the "You Need to Calm Down" video.
Taylor Swift brought the cast of “You Need to Calm Down” onto the stage to celebrate her big wins at the 2019 VMAs
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Taylor Swift won big at MTV’s 2019 Video Music Awards on Monday night. In all, Swift took home three of MTV’s coveted moon men trophies, including the much-sought-after Video of the Year award for “You Need to Calm Down,” which Swift performed at the show with cast members from the video. The video also won the Video for Good award for its positive, if a tad clumsily executed, message of LGBTQ advocacy and its support of the Equality Act. The singer also performed “Lover,” the latest single off her new album, Lover.

Swift invited performers from the “You Need to Calm Down” video onstage to share the spotlight as she accepted both awards—inadvertently occasioning a new gaffe from John Travolta, who mistakenly tried to hand off Swift’s Video of the Year trophy to Taylor Swift drag impersonator Jade Jolie. In addition to thanking the cast and co-producers who joined her onstage, Swift used her Video of the Year acceptance speech to remind the audience of the petition for the Equality Act that appears at the end of the video for “You Need to Calm Down,” noting that it has already accrued half a million signatures, “which is five times the amount of signatures it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” Swift noted, tapping her wrist.

As Swift and her “You Need to Calm Down” co-stars—including Hannah Hart, Dexter Mayfield, and Riley Knoxx—returned to the stage to accept the Video for Good award, the Lover singer handed off the microphone to the video’s co-executive producer Todrick Hall, who delivered a speech that outlined the importance of LGBTQ visibility. “If you are a young child that’s out there watching this show who is different,” Hall said, “who feels misunderstood, we have never needed you more than now to share your art, share your stories, share your truth with the world not matter what you identify as, who you identify as, who you love—this is just such a beautiful place.”

In addition to performing and winning Video for Good and Video of the Year for “You Need to Calm Down,” the video for “ME!,” the lead single off of Swift’s record-breaking new album won the award for best special effects. Also taking home awards at this year’s VMAs were Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, and Missy Elliott, who delivered a jaw-dropping medley performance of her hits ahead of receiving the MTV Video Vanguard Award.