The MTV VMAs may have given Pop culture some of its most memorable televised moments on and off stage over its 37-year course, but the show’s biggest star remains the award itself.
Reminder of this comes courtesy of world renowned American artist Kehinde Wiley (who famously created the President Obama portrait that hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery).
Look inside to see how:
Ahead of the VMAs’ airing next month live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, MTV teamed with Wiley to design a revamped edition of their historic trophy to celebrate the network’s 40th anniversary.
Years after updating the “moon man” to a “moon person” – a move to remove “the implication of gender from its name, and signaling a cultural shift in support of equality and representation” – MTV’s unveiled the third redesign of the award in the last 10 years (following KAWS’ version in 2013 and fashion designer Jeremy Scott’s from 2015).
Speaking on the latest incarnation, reps from MTV said:
“Kehinde Wiley’s Moon Person sculpture represents inclusivity and diversity marked by the historical, environmental and nature relevance of the botanicals,” they said. “The design features botanical vines seamlessly flowing up and around the figure’s legs, body, and arms as a commentary on the ethnic histories that surround America. Each intertwined vine or leaf has a different historical relevance, such as the seeds from African slaves, that are woven into the American tapestry. The sculpture complements Wiley’s forthcoming series of portraits, in which he plans to create paintings featuring his subjects lying on their sides as vines encircle their bodies.”
Tune into MTV on September 12 to see if your musical fave will walk away with a brand spankin’ new botanical Moon Person.