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Arts and Entertainment

Video: Heather Heyer's Mother Joined By Robert E. Lee's Relative At MTV VMAs

Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV and Susan Bro at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum in L.A. (Getty)
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Though host Katy Perry's milquetoast introduction to Sunday night's VMAs seemed like it may have set a non-political tone for the typically somewhat-political MTV awards show, that was thankfully not the case. The network brought out Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, to speak alongside Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, whose 4x great uncle was Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Before introducing Bro, Lee—a pastor at North Carolina's Bethany United Church of Christ—addressed the audience:

My name is Robert Lee IV, I’m a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville. We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America's original sin. Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God's call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on. We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women's March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville.

Bro, who was met with a standing ovation, told the audience: "Only 15 days ago, my daughter Heather was killed as she protested racism. I miss her, but I know she is here tonight." She went on to announce the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation, a scholarship fund “to help more people join Heather’s fight against hatred."
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“I call on all of us with privilege and power to confront racism and white supremacy head-on" - Robert Lee IV #VMAs

— MTV (@MTV) August 28, 2017

Bro announced the six nominees for the “Best Fight Against the System” award, all of whom won the award. "I want people to know that Heather never marched alone... She was always joined by people of every race and every background in this country," Bro declared, adding: "In that spirit, MTV has decided to honor all six nominees," who were John Legend ("Surefire"), Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Immigrants"), Alessia Cara ("Scars to Your Beautiful"), Logic and Damian Lemar Hudson ("Black SpiderMan"), Shailene Woodley and Taboo ("Stand Up/Stand N Rock"), and Big Sean ("Light").