Since 1984, MTV has hosted the annual Video Music Awards (VMAs), presenting awards to artists who brought innovative and creative visual elements to the music world. There is a plethora of categories that artists and their videos can be nominated for, such as Video of the Year and Artist of the Year. However, another essential aspect of the award show is the variety of artists that perform spectacular shows. This year in particular, the rapper Logic was truly able to display not only the potential he has as an upcoming mainstream artist, but also utilize his platform to shed light on a taboo subject—suicide.
On Aug. 27, Logic made his breakout at the 2017 VMAs, performing his single “1-800-273-8255” from his third and newest studio album, Everybody. The song, bearing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as its title, brings forth a powerful message regarding suicide prevention. The song itself is highly praised because it focuses on preventing suicide, rather than the tragedy of suicide alone. During the performance, the song title was plastered across the stage, while Logic performed alongside a grand orchestra before Alessia Cara and Khalid joined him on stage.
However, it was not just the performers themselves that got the attention of the audience both in and out of the stadium. Whilst performing the second chorus, dozens of suicide attempt survivors were brought onto the stage and elevated around the stadium, wearing shirts that read “1-800-273-8255” and “YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” After the song was over, Logic finished his performance with a final message, displaying his gratitude toward his audience who allowed him to discuss more somber issues such as suicide, despite mainstream media often disregarding these problems.
“My favorite part was the very end of the performance when Logic acknowledged the stigma that revolves around mental health and suicide in our society today,” Shelley Jeon (11) said. “As a strong advocate for mental health, I felt more hopeful for a future society in which we can have an honest discussion on the realities of mental health issues through not only the song and performance, but also Logic as an artist.”
Logic undoubtedly has shed light on issues regarding mental health in media and society to his audience and demographic. He has been working with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline both before and after this song was released, but he has also made an immense impact just with the song and performance alone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported a 27% increase in calls after the song was first released, and later reported a 50% increase after the VMA performance.
“The fact that Logic wrote a song about such a sensitive topic like suicide is an amazing thing in itself because not a lot of artists touch upon it,” said Joyce Kim (11), who first heard of the rapper through his VMA performance. “But he took a turn and focused more on how there is always another solution. He was able to show that suicide prevention should be what people should highlight in order to help those who are going through struggles in their lives.”
It is clear that Logic has made a huge impact on not only suicide survivors and people who are affected by this issue, but also people who are unaware of the severity of suicide. Logic’s performance with Alessia Cara and Khalid will be remembered not only as one of the greatest performances of VMA history, but also as hope that topics regarding mental health will be de-stigmatized.