Common asked audience members at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards to pray for peace during the annual event which took place on Sunday, August 24 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The Chicago rapper led a moment of silence to honor an unarmed African American teenager who was fatally shot by an officer earlier this month, Mike Brown, before presenting an award for Best Hip Hop video.
"For the past two weeks, the eyes of the nation have been on Ferguson, Missouri," he told the audience. "The people in Ferguson and St. Louis and communities across the country have used their voices to call for justice and change, to let everyone know that each and every one of our lives matters."
"Hip hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change, from Melle Mel to Public Enemy to Kendrick Lamar, hip hop has always presented a voice for the revolution. I want us all to take a moment of silence for Mike Brown and for peace in this country and in the world," he continued. Snoop Dogg can be seen flashing a peace sign.
Drake was announced as the winner of Best Hip Hop video with his "Hold On, We're Going Home", but he was not present. "Spread love, y'all. Peace," Common added after taking the trophy on behalf of the Canadian rapper.
Previously, a rep for the network confirmed that a 15-second clip about Ferguson would be aired during the show. The video features a quoted from author James Baldwin which reads, "Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
"It's a call to action to our audience that we have to confront our own bias head-on before we can truly create change. The ongoing message for our audience is not to be color blind, but to be color brave," MTV president Stephen Friedman said of the quote in an email to The Hollywood Reporter.