NEWARK — The water crisis in New Jersey's largest city met the Video Music Awards on Monday night, when about 200 protesters chanted and held signs outside the Prudential Center as the stars arrived for the red carpet.

The 34th annual VMAs came to New Jersey for the first time, in a star-studded event that featured a performance by artists who are from the Garden State — including Queen Latifah, Redman, Wyclef Jean, Naughty by Nature, and Fetty Wap. Rapper-actor Ice-T, who has loudly represented the West Coast, introduced the performance and reminded the audience that he was born in Newark.

Prior to the start of the MTV award show, a group of about 200 clean water activists marched up to the corner of the Prudential Center, holding signs that read "Not another Flint," chanting, "We don't want no MTV, we want our water lead-free."

Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said five protesters he called "out-of-towners" who tried to jump police barricades were arrested.

"We knew the protesters were coming and we set aside an area for them to gather, in support of their constitutional rights," Ambrose said. "Apparently, some were not satisfied with that arrangement and they tried to breach secure areas.”

Otherwise, the evening was a success in terms of traffic and crowd control, according to Ambrose.

"I think it was exciting for a lot of people and a great night for Newark," he said. "The VMA set was beautiful and it spoke to Newark being a major-league city. We were very well-prepared for this event in terms of police presence and security. The entry of the stars and spectators went very well."

VMA winners included Cardi B, who took home best hip-hop for "Money;" Jonas Brothers' "Sucker" won best pop; "Senorita," which Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello performed during the show, won best collaboration and best cinematography; and the Chainsmokers and Bebe Rexha's "Call You Mine" won best dance.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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