While award shows are virtual for the time being because of the pandemic, brands are still making sure experiences can still be felt in person.
The 2020 MTV VMAs are taking place on August 30, and to help celebrate the 35th annual show, MTV is doing something special for New York after being one of the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus. Subways are still relatively empty save for essential workers, but the company is hosting an art exhibition featuring works by eight NYC-based BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists.
Taking place at NYC’s Atlantic Terminal Subway Station hub, (139 Flatbush Avenue and 625 Atlantic Avenue, New York, NY 11217) the presentation was conceptualized by two MTV employees of color: Antonia Baker and Rich Tu.
Baker and Tu got the idea after protesting this summer at Barclays— likely as a result of the country’s civil unrest that was sparked by the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The latter of which still hasn’t seen true justice because the police have yet to be arrested.
“They seized the moment to propose something that was new to MTV and its current calls of support for the Black community. It transcends a traditional ad campaign and is a reflection of ‘passing the mic’ at a corporate level during this social and cultural moment in time,” said MTV in a statement.
The two MTV’ers asked the participating artist to create works around the themes of “Unity,” “Music,” “Space” and “The Future.”
The talented artists include Amika Cooper, Bronson Farr, Eugenia Mello, Eva Zar, Kervin Brisseaux, MorcosKey, and Zipeng Zhu. Cooper’s goal is to show Black women in a softer light because the public never gives them that range.
“It’s important to me to refute the idea of the ‘strong Black woman’ and other tropes that limit the public perspective of Black femmes,” she tells MTV News.
Farr, on the other hand, wants his work to show empathy for the Black man.
“People’s faces tell incredible stories when they’re being honest, even if it’s a bit scary,” Farr explains, as he wants his photography to show that people have happy endings even after going through tough times.
The exhibition will run from August 24 until September 6.