Pharrell Williams Performs ‘Freedom’ at 2015 MTV Video Music Awards [VIDEO]
— MTV (@MTV) August 31, 2015
John Legend, who won a Grammy award for the empowering song "Glory" along with Common, knows a lot about songs that inspire, which makes him the perfect person to introduce Pharrell to perform a protest song like "Freedom" at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night (Aug. 30) in Los Angeles.
"In the past year we've seen a lot of tragedy, but we look to great artists to guide us through," said Legend before introducing Pharrell, who was the final act to perform on the outside stage in downtown L.A.
"Artists singing songs of freedom. Artists like Paul Robeson, Nina Simone and Bob Dylan. Artists that kept our hearts strong and our eyes on the prize," he continued before adding that the G I R L creator will be adding to the tradition.
Pharrell took the stage to hundreds of screaming fans waving blue, red and yellow flags and made sure to get a message across before breaking into his jazzy song in front of the Orpheum Theater.
"Tonight we come to let loose. Tonight we come to dance. They try to put us in a box. They try to categorize us and say we gotta dress like this, we gotta talk like that. But we say no more. Tonight we change things. We will express ourselves and have a good time and let all that go. L.A. make some noise," said Pharrell.
Decked out in a black-and-white striped shirt and a a black newsboy hat, the N.E.R.D. leader leaned forward and started snapping as he began the jazzy scat performance. His dancers wore striped designs as well and a plain white shirt designed with the letter "F." Unlike Pharrell's gray-scale outfit, his dancers were a burst of colors -- the same as the flags.
Fireworks set off behind the stage as red stripes appeared too. Pharrell ended the song by repeating "Freedom" as he and his dancers placed their hands over their heart then pointed a finger to their mind.
That wasn't the end of the performance though. VMAs watchers were able to catch a snippet of Pharrell performing "Come Get It Bae" before the show went to commercials.
Watch Pharrell and his crew of ladies hit the stage for "Freedom" above.
See 2015 MTV Video Music Awards Red Carpet Looks