How VMAs Host Keke Palmer Took COVID-19 Precautions Ahead Of 2020 Show


    Keke Palmer attends the IFP’s 29th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty … [+] Images for IFP)

    Keke Palmer is set to host MTV’s annual Video Music Awards tonight (Aug. 30), and the singer and actress spoke exclusively with The Hollywood Reporter leading up to the major music event that has undergone safety changes as result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Palmer has taken “well over 10” COVID-19 tests, with constant testing every two days, the first-time award show host said. Other safety precautions have been taken as well: rehearsals were held over Zoom and her glam team wore masks and clear face shields.

    On Aug. 10, the VMA’s announced that the award show would no longer be held in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, citing safety concerns. This came after after the show’s organizers proposed a “socially-distanced” show inside of the center back in June 2020.

    Palmer pre-taped segments all over NYC, including in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, to prepare for the music event.

    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 26: Lizzo performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at … [+] Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

    The VMAs will “pay homage to the incredible resiliency of New York with several outdoor performances around the City with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines,” said MTV and the Barclays Center in a joint statement. The event will also pay tribute to frontline medical workers.

    “This is the first big thing in New York I think since COVID began. If you are planning on doing something like this, we have to be on strict guidelines,” Palmer added in the interview. “I just want to do what we need to do to get it done—I’m willing to jump through hoops. I think we need entertainment right now. It’s what I do and what I love.”

    Palmer is the first Black woman to host the VMAs solo, as well as the first Black woman to host the show since MTV-VJ Downtown Julie Brown co-hosted in 1986 and 1987.

    The “True Jackson, VP” actress recently starred in the 2019 film “Hustlers,” and will play the feature role in the historical thriller “Alice,” alongside Common and Jonny Lee Miller. The movie is inspired by “the true events of a woman of servitude in 1800s Georgia, who escapes the 55-acre confines of her captor to discover the shocking reality that exists beyond the tree line … it’s 1973,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Leading this year’s award nominations are Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande with nine nods each, Billie Eilish and The Weeknd with six, Taylor Swift with five, and Dua Lipa and Justin Bieber with four nods.

    For the desirable “Video of the Year” category, video contenders include Future and Drake’s « Life Is Good, » Swift’s « The Man, » The Weeknd’s « Blinding Lights,” Eminem and Juice WRLD’s « Godzilla, » Eilish’s « everything i wanted,” and Gaga and Grande’s « Rain on Me.”

    I am a freelance writer covering music, Hollywood and entertainment news. In 2019, I was a full-time editorial intern for Forbes Magazine, where I worked on lists

    I am a freelance writer covering music, Hollywood and entertainment news. In 2019, I was a full-time editorial intern for Forbes Magazine, where I worked on lists including the 2019 Celebrity 100 Issue and The World’s Highest-Paid DJs. I was also previously a contributor to, where I wrote more than 150 articles relating to music, entertainment and industry news. My writing has appeared in, Forbes Magazine, Billboard, Stylecaster, The GW Hatchet, and more. I have a B.A. and Special Honors in Journalism & Mass Communication from George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Please send all pitches/inquiries to [email protected]




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