Paying tribute to Pink’s 17-year long career as a performer and trailblazing impact on music, pop culture, fashion and philanthropy, the honor came with a powerhouse performance from high-flying singer — who took the stage to sing a medley of her hits including “Get This Party Started,” “So What,” “Try,” “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” “F—— Perfect,” “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” and her new single, “What About Us,” from her forthcoming sixth album, Beautiful Trauma.
The trip down memory lane include a high five from her 6-year-old daughter Willow Sage — who adorably walked the red carpet with her mom and dad husband Carey Hart in matching suits (the couple also share 8-month-old son Jameson Moon).
After her song, Pink gave an inspiring speech about body image inspired by a time Willow told her mom, “I’m the ugliest girl I know” and “look like a boy with long hair.”
“‘You’re beautiful,’ ” Pink recalled telling her daughter. “When people make fun of me they say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I’m too outspoken. Do you see me growing my hair? Do you see me changing my body? Do you see my selling out arenas all over the world?”
“We don’t change,” Pink continued, calling out artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin, George Michael, and Elton John. “We take the gravel in the shell and make a pearl.”
She ended her speech by thanking her contemporaries — and sending love to Willow again. “To all the artists here, I’m so inspired by you guys,” Pink said. “There’s so much rad s— happening right now in music. Keep doing it and keep shining. And you my darling girl are beautiful and I love you.”
Since her debut in 2000, Pink has racked up a number of memorable moments on the VMAs stage. She’s won six awards at the big show, including the coveted Video of the Year honor for“Lady Marmalade” — her 2001 collaboration with Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim and Mya.
Pink last grabbed audiences on the VMA stage in 2009 with her gravity-defying acrobatic performance of “Sober.”
As a Video Vanguard recipient, she has now followed in the footsteps of past honorees including Madonna, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Kanye West and — most recently — Rihanna.
Beautiful Trauma will see Pink, 37, returning to the political pop that’s helped make her star since her debut single, “There You Go,” hit the charts in 2000. Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid — cowriters on Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape of You” — helped Pink pen “What About Us.” Other tracks on the LP come from Max Martin, Julia Michaels, Greg Kurstin, Shellback, busbee, and Taylor Swift‘s latest collaborator Jack Antonoff.
Sunday’s 2017 MTV Video Music Awards also saw performances from Kendrick Lamar, Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran, Fifth Harmony, Lorde, the Weeknd, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, Logic, Khalid, Julia Michaels, Post Malone, Cardi B of “Bodak Yellow,” Rod Stewart, DNCE, and Katy Perry — who also hosted the show for the first time.
Taylor Swift also made a stir, premiering the music video for her new single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”
Pink’s Beautiful Trauma is out Oct. 13.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE