“We don’t change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl.”

By Hayden Wright

P!nk has been making music for more than two decades and charted countless unforgettable video moments. During the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, P!nk performed a medley of her career hits in an energetic set. She interpolated her biggest songs from “Get the Party Started” to “Just Give Me a Reason” and traveled around the giant stage followed by teams of backup dancers.

P!nk was this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient, in recognition of her enduring influence and body of work. Ellen DeGeneres presented the award (quipping that Cher dropped out last-minute).

Related: 5 Awesome P!nk Instagram Moments for National Pink Day

“I love P!nk—she’s my friend,” Ellen said. “I think she’s the most incredible performer and when she asked me to give her this award I said ‘absolutely.’”

When P!nk collected the prize, she told a story about her 6-year-old daughter Willow.

“Recently I was driving my daughter to school and she said to me out of the blue, ‘Mama—I’m the ugliest girl I know.’ She said ‘Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’”

“But I didn’t say anything and instead I went home and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her. In that presentation were androgynous rock stars and artists who lived in their truth, were probably made fun of every day.”

The presentation included David Bowie, Annie Lennox, George Michael and other famous musicians who’ve inspired P!nk to stand her ground in the face of criticism. This brought her to the moral of the story:

“We don’t change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl.”

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