Fans react to Cyndi Lauper’s women’s rights speech at 2021 VMAs
Girls still just wanna have fun — but women just want equal rights.
Legendary pop star Cyndi Lauper came to the 2021 MTV VMAs at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with a message in mind for her fellow woman, delivered before she presented the award for best pop record.
“How are you doing? I won a Moon Person at the very first VMAs in 1984. Things are a little different now,” Lauper, 68, said. “Yeah, girls wanna have fun. But we also want to have funds. Equal pay. Control over our bodies! You know, fundamental rights.”
The award went to Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar and Giveon for “Peaches,” but it was of course Lauper’s feminist oratory that seemed to galvanize social media.
“I would follow Cyndi Lauper into hell,” said Vulture writer Anne Victoria Clark.
“What ever happened to artists who were brave enough to speak their mind? Cyndi Lauper showed the kids how it’s done,” another fan added on Twitter.
Others, of course, were not so impressed: “Cyndi Lauper is still alive?” one tweeter snarked.
Meanwhile, Lauper’s words came at a time when progressive women across the country campaign against a recent wave of anti-abortion legislation, particularly throughout Southern states — namely Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott just signed one of the most prohibitive abortion laws in the nation, and was furthermore upheld by the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has been ordered to file suit against Texas as many, including the White House, have called the new legislation “unconstitutional.”
It was an inspiring moment for some viewers — and a tenacious return to the national stage for the feminist icon, who did not perform at this year’s awards. Nevertheless, her awkward New Year’s Eve act, in which the legendary artist was caught off-guard, on-camera getting preened by her team — while shouting “I’m on camera!” — still made for great television. And Lauper rarely disappoints in that arena.
The “Time After Time” singer gave a few more choice words after stepping offstage, in a follow-up for ET.
“I worked really hard to get ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ to represent all girls, so that all girls could see themselves,” she said. “I wanted to capture that, and I’ve got to say, we were the little engine that could. I was up for seven awards that year, didn’t win one.”
She continued, “[But] I was there, and I got to make this performance art.”