Miley Cyrus won the Moonman for Video of the Year at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, but she didn’t take the stage to accept the award. Instead, a homeless young man named Jesse did the honors.
“I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives. I know this because I’m one of these people,” the young man told the audience (above). “Though I may have been invisible to you in the streets, I have the same dreams as many of you.”
See photos: MTV VMAs 2014 Red Carpet Arrivals
Cyrus, who earned the award for her “Wrecking Ball” music video, watched from her seat and teared up while Jesse spoke.
“Los Angeles, entertainment capital, has the largest population of homeless youth in America,” the young man added. “The music industry will make over $7 billion this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.”
Also read: MTV 2014 VMA Winners: The Complete List
The charity stunt was aimed at raising awareness for the issue, as well as money. Jesse directed the audience and viewers to check out Cyrus’ Facebook, where she posted a link to the the site accepting donations for the cause.
“Help me raise awareness and funds to end youth homelessness!” Cyrus wrote. “This is just the beginning for me, but we’re going to get started now by focusing on My Friend’s Place, a homeless center for young people in Hollywood. “
The effort to leave her mark on the MTV production — best known for wild and surprising antics from guests attending and performing — was the polar opposite of Cyrus’ nearly-naked presence in 2013, when she twerked her way through her set and into the crosshairs of the Parents Television Council.
“MTV has once again succeeded in marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars and condom commercials,” PTC director of public policy Dan Isett said in a statement last year. “This is unacceptable.”
Hopefully Cyrus’ critics will find her latest publicity stunt more acceptable.
TheWrap’s MTV VMAs Complete Coverage: