It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop: Logic Gave The Most Powerful VMAs Performance Of 2017 (Video)

UPDATE: Less than 48 hours ago, Logic made a huge statement at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. The Visionary Music Group MC took the stage with “1-800-273-8255.” His Everyone single that features Alessia Cara and Khalid is titled after the suicide prevention hotline. In Inglewood, California Sunday night, the Maryland rapper and his song counterparts shared the stage with true life survivors who contemplated suicide and sought help.

That performance had a tremendous impact.

Billboard now reports that the toll-free hotline received a 50% spike in calls, following Logic’s video set. “Logic’s performance of ‘1-800-273-8255’ on the MTV VMAs last night delivered a positive message that has had and will continue to have a lasting impact,” Lifeline’s Director of Communications Frances Gonzalez said in a statement.

ORIGINAL AUGUST 28 STORY: Over the years, awards shows have become less and less relevant. Performances have become a dime a dozen. Competition from other outlets has become increasingly intense. The desire to lock into any one program for two to four hours has waned, when clips are soon available that allow users to pick and choose what and when they want to watch, in the order they want. And, pop culture has become fragmented such that the audiences actually consuming any particular song, show, film or video are getting smaller and smaller, thus making the awards themselves less meaningful. Generally, there are just more dragons to slay.

Every once in a while, however, there is a magical moment that transcends the corny jokes, choreographed routines and contrived controversies. This happened at the 2013 Grammy Awards, when 33 couples–many of them same sex–were married during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s performance of “Same Love.” Two years later, Kendrick Lamar took the stage at the same show and powerfully protested the oppression Black Americans have endured at the hands of the justice system for centuries. In 2014, Matthew McConaughey served up a concentrated dose of inspiration, as he accepted his Best Actor Academy Award. At the 2016 BET Awards, Jesse Williams showed that an acceptance speech could be so much more, as he gave an impassioned message of Black pride and resistance.

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Last night, that moment belonged to Logic. For years, the Maryland, MC has been a respected lyricist by Hip-Hop fans, without the benefit of club bangers or radio hits. Instead, he has released three stellar albums that serve as an exploration of himself and the world around him. On Everybody, his latest release, he has a song titled “1-800-273-8255,” featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, that addresses suicide. The song’s title, itself, is the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In a recent interview with Genius, Logic said of the song “[Some] fans that I met randomly, they’ve said things like, ‘Your music has saved my life. You’ve saved my life.’ And I was always like, ‘Aw, so nice of you. Thanks.’ And I give them a hug and sh*t but in my mind, I’m like, ‘What the f*ck?’ And they’re really serious. And they tat sh*t on their arms and get sh*t like lyrics that save their life and in my mind, I was like, ‘Man I wasn’t even trying to save nobody’s life.’ And then it hit me, the power that I have as an artist with a voice. I wasn’t even trying to save your life. Now what can happen if I actually did?”

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During his performance of the song last night, Logic was surrounded by tens of real-life survivors of suicide attempts, who proudly wore t-shirts bearing the phone number on the front, and the words “You Are Not Alone” on the back. The emotions on the stage and in the room were palpable, as the reactions ranged from heaving tears to smiles beaming at the strength of those survivors who joined him.

At the end of the song, Logic, who was joined by Cara and Khalid, gave a passionate speech, saying. “I just want to take a moment to thank you for giving me a platform to talk about something that mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about: mental health, anxiety, suicide, depression and so much more that I talk about on this album. From racism, discrimination, sexism, domestic violence, sexual assault, and so much more; I don’t give a damn if you are black, white, or any color in between. I don’t care if you’re Christian, you’re Muslim, you’re gay, you’re straight, I am here to fight for your equality because I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equally and that is why we must fight. We must fight for the equality of every man, woman, and child regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual orientation. So I say here and now if you believe in this message of peace, love, positivity, and equality for all, then I demand that you rise to your feet and applaud not only for yourselves, but for the foundation we are laying for our children.”