Hayley Kiyoko @ The VMAs


by larisha paul

On Monday night at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Hayley Kiyoko had the honor of being one of the few tolerable and genuinely exciting moments of the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, in nearly every category. Taking to the VMAs red carpet for the first time in her career, she stepped onto a platform adorned with a rainbow backdrop to speak with TV personality Terrence J where he presented her with her first ever VMA for MTV Push Artist of the Year.

“Can I hold it?” Hayley asked as Terrence prompted her to begin her acceptance speech, sounding as though she was referring to a baby rather than an award, but what’s the difference? Continuing with the award in hand, she declares “this validates any queer women of color that you can follow your dreams.” Hayley has spent much of her career advocating for both queer and women's rights and acceptance, helping her fans through rough times while also bringing them together, which is how she promptly earned the fan entrusted moniker Lesbian Jesus.

Before she became their Push Artist of the Year, Hayley was MTV’s April Push Artist of the Month. Each month, MTV takes the time to honor and uplift a rising artist and give them a platform to have their voice heard by millions they’ve yet to reach. Hayley was the selected winner out of over fifteen nominees, including SZA, Jessie Reyez, Grace VanderWaal, and Khalid.  

Hayley had walked into the building already a winner, but it was on the carpet that she also found out that she had made it to the final round of voting for the VMA for Best New Artist. Despite having beat out rap star Lil Uzi Vert, rising pop artist Bazzi, and power duo Chloe x Halle, the voters decided that Cardi B was the best of the best in 2018. Hayley took to Twitter following the award show to share her congratulations with Cardi, very excitedly saying:

“That was an honor to even be in the running!! Congrats @iamcardib!! The world loves you and so do I!!!”

Before the night was over, Hayley also had the chance to grace the stage at the award show to perform some of her hit song “Curious,” the video for which currently has fourteen million views on YouTube. Clearly, 2018, or as she almost exclusively refers to it, 20Gayteen, has been a huge year for the singer-songwriter, and her accomplishments thus far only serve to amplify the impact she will have on the industry moving forward in her career.

Her debut album Expectations arrived in March of this year and featured a collaboration with rising R&B star Kehlani titled “What I Need.” Before the album had even arrived, Hayley was booked as an opener for Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked tour. This gave her the chance to perform to sold-out crowds at some of the most iconic venues in music history, including Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center, and she even joined Panic! frontman Brendon Urie on stage one night to perform "Girls/Girls/Boys", sending pure love and acceptance to everyone’s heart.

20Gayteen may be coming to an end in a few short months, but if Hayley’s “VMGays” success is any indication of what’s to come, she’s really just getting started and things are only going to get a lot more gay from here.