Lady Gaga Just Made History, But What Actually Is The MTV VMAs' Tricon Award?

What is the VMAs Tricon Award, and what does it mean for its recipient, Lady Gaga, to receive it?

What is the VMAs Tricon Award, and what does it mean for its recipient, Lady Gaga, to receive it?

The MTV VMA 2020 was a show of firsts. There was a first-time VMAs performance by BTS; the first time the show was taped without a real-life audience; and the first time an MTV VMA Tricon Award was handed out. But what is the VMAs Tricon Award, and what does it mean for its recipient, Lady Gaga, to receive it?

Well, the inaugural award recognises an artist who is highly accomplished across three or more disciplines. In presenting her with the MTV VMAs Tricon award, model Bella Hadid explained that while Gaga was a singer/actress, fashion icon and activist, it wasn’t enough to simply call her a triple threat. “She turns pop music into high art. She redefines fashion,” said Bella. She continued, calling Gaga a “powerhouse” actor and someone who “inspires and empowers all of us” with her activism.

With Gaga as the Tricon Award’s first recipient, the bar has been set high. On top of winning MTV VMA's Artist of the Year, along with Best Collaboration and Song of the Year for “Rain on Me” (with Ariana Grande), Gaga has an Oscar, Grammys and a Golden Globe under her belt, and is a trendsetter (those masks? wow), style icon and activist. She’s released six studio albums and has a career spanning more than a decade so far.

"This is so cool. This means a lot to me," Gaga said when accepting the award. "It means more than you probably even realise. I've been making music since I was a little girl and even though I had really, really big dreams, I truly never could have imagined that someday I would be given an award like this that honoured me for so many of my passions."

"I want you to know I failed over and over again as an actress and as a musician when I was young and, though I gave back to the local community through service as a young woman in New York, philanthropy became a much bigger part of my life as a star and I started the Born this Way foundation with my mother, Cynthia, once my record broke."

Gaga continued, saying she wanted to share the award with viewers. "Everybody at home that is their own form of a Tricon," she said. "I wish for you to think right now of three things that define who you are and take a moment to reward yourself for your bravery." 

Gaga said that while she recognised this year hadn't been easy for most people, she saw a "massive triumph of courage." "I also hope that people at home that have big dreams, I hope they see me here today accepting this award and know how grateful I am and I want you to know that you can do this, too," she said. "Just because we're separated right now, and culture may feel less alive in some ways, I know a renaissance is coming and the wrath of pop culture will inspire you and the rage of art will empower you as it responds to hardship with its generosity and love. This is what I believe."

Gaga closed the speech by saying: "I want nothing more than to be your artist in 2020. It's a total privilege. I love you. Stay safe. Speak your mind and, I might sound like a broken record, but wear a mask. It's a sign of respect." 

So the MTV VMAs first-ever Tricon award is in the safe hands of pop culture royalty. Given the year this has been, that's one relief. Lady Gaga, we love you.

Follow along with all our MTV VMAs coverage here, including our complete VMAs winners list. Catch the VMAs performance line-up here and catch up on the 2020 Video Music Awards, which aired live in Australia this morning, Monday, August 31 at 10am AEST. 

Main Image Credit: Licensed by Getty

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