Award-winning singer Beyoncé made a political statement by posing on the show's special white carpet with the mothers of four black men killed in racially charged incidents. Their deaths ignited the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The mothers had appeared in Beyoncé's visual album, Lemonade, holding photos of their dead sons. Lesley McSpadden-Head, whose son Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer told Rolling Stone: "I appreciate her for being bold enough to confront things and be sensitive at the same time."

The singer was the biggest winner at the prestigious music awards in New York, picking up seven awards including video of the year for Formation and best female video at MTV music awards. The most prestigious gong of the night – best video of the year – went to Beyoncé's song Formation.

Towards the end of the film, there are scenes depicting police clashing with a group of black people. A wall is prominently shown with graffiti which reads: "Stop shooting us."

The singer belted out a 16-minute performance of hits from her album Lemonade. She twerked and performed some of her famous dance moves in a number of figure-hugging outfits – receiving a standing ovation at the end.

Beyoncé arrived at the celebrity-laden event wearing a pale-green grown adorned with sequins and ostrich feathers by unknown designer Francesco Scognamiglio. Blue Ivy, her four-year-old daughter wore a Mischka Aoki dress worth over £8,000, which featured a tulle skirt and a gold appliquéd bodice. The singer was joined by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, including Sybrina Fulton, mother of murdered teenager Trayvon Martin.

After winning the video of the year, Beyoncé made no overt political remarks but dedicated the award to the people of New Orleans. She also thanked her daughter and described her husband Jay Z as "incredible". He did not appear at the broadcast of the MTV show and was not on the red carpet at the event on Sunday 28 August.