Lani Grande, Marjorie Grande, Ariana Grande, and Joan Grande onstage during 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
John Shearer—Getty Images for MTV
By Raisa Bruner
August 21, 2018

For Ariana Grande’s performance of “God Is a Woman” at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday night, it wasn’t enough just for the Sweetener star to recreate a decadent “Last Supper”-style tableau of dancers and gilded costumery, replete with Grecian columns and celestial skies swirling in the background.

Grande decided to bring home the message of the song even further by inviting up her family onto the stage for the end of the song, too. She welcomed aunt Lani Grande, grandmother Marjorie Grande and mom Joan Grande to center stage towards the end of the performance, joining hands with her grandmother and mom as she continued to sing the anthem praising womanhood.

The entire performance kept the female-forward message strong: she was backed by an inclusive mix of dancers, all of them women, as they re-enacted the ode to spiritual femininity. Besides putting on a glittering show for the audience, which included her fiancé Pete Davidson in the front row, Grande also took home an award during the course of the evening — for her new album’s lead single “No Tears Left to Cry,” which nabbed the Best Pop trophy. During an awards show devoid of much of the star power and surprises of years past, Grande’s touching tribute to her family was a standout moment.

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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