MTV scraps gen­der cat­e­gories as Ken­drick leads VMA nods

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

MTV has rid it­self of gen­der-spe­cific cat­e­gories as the net­work re­vealed nom­i­nees Tues­day for this year's Video Mu­sic Awards, in which rap­per Ken­drick La­mar is in the lead. In the age of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and the fierce back­lash he has gen­er­ated among cul­tural lead­ers, MTV also an­nounced a new cat­e­gory of "Best Fight Against the Sys­tem" to rec­og­nize ac­tivist mu­sic. The awards will air world­wide from Los An­ge­les on Au­gust 27. Re­flect­ing its so­cial me­dia push, the mu­sic and youth cul­ture net­work an­nounced the nom­i­na­tions through posts by well-fol­lowed fig­ures on In­sta­gram. La­mar, one of the most ac­claimed fig­ures in hip-hop, re­ceived the most nom­i­na­tions at eight, in­clud­ing Video of the Year for "HUM­BLE."-an ironic look at fame in which he ap­pears clad as the pope and as Je­sus in "The Last Sup­per."

Tied for sec­ond with five nom­i­na­tions are Katy Perry for her sci-fi amuse­ment park fan­tasy "Chained to the Rhythm" and The Weeknd for his star-stud­ded "Re­minder." The Video Mu­sic Awards for the first time will not di­vide by gen­der with a new Artist of the Year prize in­cor­po­rat­ing the top male and fe­male cat­e­gories. The net­work said in a state­ment that it was out to "break bar­ri­ers" and had a pos­i­tive re­sponse when it elim­i­nated gen­der groups at this year's MTV Movie and TV Awards.

Nom­i­nees for Artist of the Year in­clude four men-La­mar and The Weeknd, along with Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran-and two women, Ari­ana Grande and Lorde. Vir­tu­ally all ma­jor US awards in­clud­ing the Gram­mys and Os­cars have sep­a­rate male and fe­male cat­e­gories. The rare awards that mix male and fe­male nom­i­nees in­clude the Mercury Prize which, with an art­house sen­si­bil­ity, rec­og­nizes the top Bri­tish or Ir­ish al­bum each yearand the Juno Awards for Cana­dian artists.

Se­ri­ous notes for gala party

Win­ners in the ma­jor cat­e­gories are deter­mined by vot­ing by fans through the awards' web­site, The Video Mu­sic Awards have usu­ally been more about the spec­ta­cle than the ul­ti­mate win­ners, with the net­work gladly of­fer­ing a global plat­form to celebri­ties. Pop cul­ture mo­ments of past galas have in­cluded Lady Gaga wear­ing a dress of raw meat, Madonna mak­ing out on stage with Brit­ney Spears and Bey­once show­ing off a baby bump for her first child with Jay-Z.

But tak­ing a se­ri­ous turn, MTV an­nounced the new "Best Fight Against the Sys­tem" award to cel­e­brate videos "that in­spire view­ers to stand up and fight in­jus­tice." The nom­i­nees in­clude John Leg­end's "Sure­fire," whose video dra­ma­tizes an­ti­im­mi­grant and anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment in the United States, and the cel­e­bra­tory "Im­mi­grants: We Get the Job Done" from the block­buster mu­si­cal "Hamilton."

Other nom­i­nees are the di­ver­sity-hail­ing "Black Spi­derMan" by bira­cial rap­per Logic, Big Sean's "Light" about over­com­ing ad­ver­sity in­clud­ing racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and Alessia Cara's "Scars to Your Beau­ti­ful" about body im­age. Also in the run­ning is "Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL," a hip-hop an­them led by Black Eyed Peas' Taboo to rally against the Dakota Ac­cess Pipe­line op­posed by the Stand­ing Rock Sioux tribe on en­vi­ron­men­tal and cul­tural grounds. Nom­i­nees for Best New Artist-of­ten a sign of fast-ris­ing star­dom-were R&B singers SZA and Khalid, rap­pers Ko­dak Black and Young M.A., pop song­writer Ju­lia Michaels and Noah Cyrus, the 17-year-old ac­tress and sis­ter of Mi­ley Cyrus who is ready­ing her de­but al­bum. — AFP

In this file photo, Ken­drick La­mar per­forms dur­ing the Fes­ti­val d'ete de Que­bec in Que­bec City, Canada. — AP

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