Here's something I think we all can agree on: Watching Hayley Kiyoko accept her award for the MTA VMAs Push Artist of the Year was nothing short of an an unadulterated, unabashed delight. Kiyoko beat out an impressive slate of artists for the award, including Chloe x Halle, Khalid, Sigrid, SZA, Grace VanderWaal, and Why Don’t We for the award, which highlights emerging musical talent.
The award was a triumph, but so was Kiyoko's speech. Kiyoko dedicated the award to queer women of color like herself. "This award validates any queer woman of color, that you can follow your dreams. And I love my fans," Kiyoko said, waving the space man in the air. "My fans gave this to us. We did it, #20GAYTEEN!" Here, Kiyoko is referencing a hashtag she started on January 1, 2018 with a tweet that said, "It’s our year, it’s our time. To thrive and let our souls feel alive.
Her fans, who refer to Kiyoko as Lesbian Jesus, are relishing in her victory.
HAYLEY KIYOKO WON THE MOON PERSON AND HER REACTION WAS SO CUTE AND HER ACCEPTANCE SPEECH MENTIONED LGBT POC AND SHE SCREAMED "WE DID IT 20GAYTEEN" INTO THE MICROPHONE MULTIPLE TIMES OMFG I LOVE HER— Linds REALLY misses panic (@kingofthedrunks) August 21, 2018
Just as endearing was the interview that came after Kiyoko's award. Kiyoko was utterly herself, saying lines like, "I'm crying and I haven't even met the famous people yet!" Her sentences sparkled with awe, like each moment carried with it a mild out-of-body experience.
While on stage, Kiyoko also learned that she's reached the final round for the Best New Artist award, along with Cardi B — or, as Kiyoko called her, "the queen." Upon hearing the news, Kiyoko laughed with unbridled enthusiasm and yet again, that expression of awe. Kiyoko's "I just want everyone to know I've been doing this for 13 years, and I'm literally just this kid sitting in my apartment trying to get people to listen to my music. The fact that I'm even — Cardi B? What? Two years ago I was playing for 50 people!"
Essentially, Kiyoko's raw and honest acceptance speech created an instant and unforgettable mood. This is the magic of the awards show red carpet: Genuine, refreshingly authentic talent, reacting with excitement and surprise. Kiyoko's career as a pop icon (and Lesbian Jesus) is just getting started. Lucky us.