It's one of the biggest nights in the music industry — and it came with a message. After she took the stage to present the award for best male video at the 2016 MTV VMAs, Alicia Keys reminded the audience that today is also the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King's delivery of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 Washington, D.C. Civil Rights March.
Keys honored King's memory by reciting a poem about racial and gender equality, which she began to sing a cappella after speaking the first few verses:
If war is holy and sex is obscene
Then we got it twisted in this lucid dream
Baptized in boundaries, schooled in sin
Divided by difference, sexuality and skin
So we can fear each other, hate each other
We can break these walls
We can build these walls between each other baby
Blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, your self locked
Or maybe we could love somebody
Maybe we could care a little more
Maybe we could love somebody
Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war
"I still believe in that dream that one day our nation is going to rise up and finally, finally be completely about the true meaning of this creed that all women and men are created equal," she said following the poem before presenting the award for Best Male Video.
Watch full video of the speech below.
Aug. 29, 2016, 9:11 a.m.: This post has been updated.