No gender-specific categories for MTV VMA this year
MTV has rid itself of gender-specific categories as the network revealed nominees 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 recognise activist music.
The awards will air worldwide from Los Angeles on Aug 27.
Lamar, one of the most acclaimed figures in hip-hop, received the most nominations at eight including Video of the Year for Humble.
Tied for second with five nominations are Katy Perry (pic) 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 itwasoutto"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. Winners in the major categories are determined by voting by fans through the awards' website, www.vma.mtv.com.
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 dramatises 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 Black SpiderMan by Logic, Big Sean's Light, Alessia Cara's Scars To Your Beautiful and Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL, a hipled hop anthem by Black Eyed Peas' Taboo. – AFP Relaxnews