MTV is taking the conversation into its own hands by airing public service announcements addressing the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., during and before Sunday night’s Video Music Awards, a rep for the network confirmed.
The clips are a part of Look Different, a campaign MTV started with such organizations as the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Council of La Raza. One 15-second clip, set to air during a commercial break in the annual awards show, features a quote from author James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
It’s set against the backdrop of a simple black-and-white image of a Ferguson town sign.
Another clip, also 15 seconds-long, shows seven young people with talk of racial stereotypes in the background, with a tagline of “Look. Listen. Change.” It’s scheduled to air during the pre-show.
Ferguson has been in headlines since Aug. 9, when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a law enforcement official. Since then, police and citizens of the Missouri town have been at a standoff, with residents protesting.
The VMAs have often been at the center of pop culture conversations, including subjects such as race. At last year’s show, Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance spurred cries of cultural appropriation.
MTV’s Video Music Awards airs live on Sunday from the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Watch both ads below.