June 28th, 2017

Acceptance and diversity get major stage time at boisterous MMVAs street party


By David Friend, The Canadian Press on June 18, 2017.

MuchMusic Video Awards co-hosts Joe Jonas and Alessia Cara are shown in a handout photo. Canadian pop singer Alessia Cara takes on hosting duties at tonight's iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards alongside Joe Jonas. The pair of pop stars will unite for the massive street party and awards ceremony held in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Bell Media MANDATORY CREDIT

TORONTO – Joe Jonas showed off his knowledge of Canadian culture at Sunday’s iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards.

The co-host of the Toronto street party and awards show stood alongside Brampton, Ont., pop singer Alessia Cara to recite a few trivia tidbits.

The one that got the crowd cheering the most was the move to legalize recreational marijuana.

“This time next year it will be completely legal to be blem for real,” Jonas said, tipping his hat to Drake lyrics about getting high.

Jonas is familiar with working the boisterous crowd at the MMVAs. He hosted eight years ago with his brothers.

Cara, however, is a newcomer to the gig, though her charisma on stage seemed effortless.

“13 Reasons Why” actor Brandon Flynn turned to Cara early in the show as he addressed the power of a new generation.

“Our voices, they’re young, they’re influential,” he said.

“If we stop using them we let an older generation who doesn’t give anything … to use their voices.”

Themes of unity and acceptance ran throughout the show with artists like Toronto’s Serena Ryder using their stage time to emphasize equality.

Indigenous group A Tribe Called Red also took a moment to lend encouragement to visible minorities when they won video of the year for “R.E.D.”

“To all the black, brown, indigenous, immigrant, international kids out there: believe in your dreams, make it happen,” said Yassin Alsalman, who raps a verse on “R.E.D.” as Narcy.

While the voices on stage boasted acceptance, the audience saved most of their energy for screaming.

Former One Direction member Niall Horan received the loudest squeals. He took home the fan fave international artist or group award before taking the stage to perform two songs.

His fans shouted back the lyrics to “Slow Hands” while holding their phones in the air to capture the performance.

Other winners included Lorde for international artist of the year, who wasted little time before sharing her affection for the country.

“Canada was one of the first places to go, “Hey, we like this little weirdo,” she said upon receiving the award.

Former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello won for best new international artist.

“I was just telling my mom backstage they’re so loud and encouraging,” Cabello said about the crowd before dedicating the award to her father.

Before the show, the MMVA’s famed red carpet ceremony had plenty of flair, including an undeniably celebratory arrival by Vancouver band Marianas Trench, who are marking their 10th year at the event.

Lead singer Josh Ramsay arrived hidden in a cake before he revealed himself – almost all of himself – in a faux whip cream bikini. His bandmates plastered on dozens of colourful balloons to mark the occasion.

“I was like, you know what, let’s do something classy,” Ramsay said of the choice.

“Nothing to me says class like leaping out of a cake in a whip cream bikini on Father’s Day.”

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