MTV Is Making History By Doing Away With Gendered Categories For The VMAs

Most music fans would likely agree that MTV has long since lost its standing as “Music Television,” in both official title and its programming content. However, its annual Video Music Awards ceremony continues to draw millions of viewers and this year’s installment is poised to make the television network a trendsetter in an important way.

Today (July 25), MTV announced its nominees for traditional categories, but also the addition of a new one. In addition to the usual – Video Of The Year, Best New Artist, and “Best” awards for the usual genres of Pop, Rock, Dance, and Hip-Hop, etc – the network will be adding “Best Fight Against The System,” a category aiming to “celebrate videos that inspire viewers to stand up and fight injustice.” Among the nominees are those involved with “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done),” off the Hip-Hop inspired Hamilton mixtape, as well as Logic for “Black Spider-Man.”

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But the most exciting development out of the 2017 MTV VMAs is not what will be included, but what will be omitted. Gendered categories have been entirely erased, meaning that instead of awarding the “Best Female Video” and “Best Male Video,” there will only be an “Artist Of The Year.” As reported by in April, MTV already removed the male/female distinction from its Movie Awards, which aired in May. “It’s no surprise to see MTV, a network that has long promoted social engagement and activism among its young viewers, at the forefront of these changes,” wrote Eliza Berman at the time. She finishes her piece with the following statement: “As more serious-minded awards-disseminating organizations continue to work toward a more inclusive future, they could stand to take a hint from MTV.”

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For a network which – in the eyes of many – long ago lost its cultural relevance, its decision to lead the way towards a non-binary approach to talent recognition is notable. The Academy Awards, Emmys, Grammys, Tony Awards, and many other major ceremonies have yet to do away with male and female categories.

As far as Hip-Hop goes, it is unsurprisingly the clear winner as far as the number of nominations are concerned. Artist Of The Year nominee Kendrick Lamar leads the way, with “HUMBLE.” nominated for Video Of The Year (and Best Hip-Hop Video), as well as Best Cinematography, Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Choreography. In 2015, “Alright” was nominated for Video Of The Year.


DJ Khaled, SZA, Young M.A, Chance The Rapper, Kanye West, and Big Sean are some of the other Rap artists with nominations – the partial list of which can be seen below:

Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Bruno Mars – “24K Magic”
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful”
DJ Khaled – “Wild Thoughts” f. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller
The Weeknd – “Reminder”

Bruno Mars
Kendrick Lamar
Ed Sheeran
Ariana Grande
The Weeknd

Kodak Black
Young M.A
Julia Michaels
Noah Cyrus (Records)

Charlie Puth – “We Don’t Talk Anymore” f. Selena Gomez
DJ Khaled – “Wild Thoughts” f. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller
D.R.A.M. – “Broccoli” f. Lil Yachty
The Chainsmokers – “Closer” f. Halsey
Calvin Harris – “Feels” f. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean
Zayn & Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)”

Shawn Mendes – “Treat You Better”
Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”
Harry Styles – “Sign Of The Times”
Fifth Harmony – “Down” f. Gucci Mane
Katy Perry – “Chained To The Rhythm” f. Skip Marley
Miley Cyrus – “Malibu”

Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Big Sean – “Bounce Back”
Chance The Rapper – “Same Drugs”
D.R.A.M. – “Broccoli” f. Lil Yachty
Migos – “Bad & Boujee” f. Lil Uzi Vert
DJ Khaled – “I’m The One” f. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne

Zedd and Alessia Cara – “Stay”
Kygo x Selena Gomez – “It Ain’t Me”
Calvin Harris – “My Way”
Major Lazer – “Cold Water” f. Justin Bieber and MØ
Afrojack – “Gone” f. Ty Dolla $ign

Coldplay – “A Head Full of Dreams”
Fall Out Boy – “Young And Menace”
Twenty One Pilots – “Heavydirtysoul”
Green Day – “Bang Bang”
Foo Fighters – “Run”

Logic – “Black Spider-Man” f. Damian Lemar Hudson
The Hamilton Mixtape – “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)”
Big Sean – “Light”
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful”
Taboo – “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” f. Shailene Woodley
John Legend – “Surefire”

Heads can head to the VMAs website for the full list of nominations, and can get involved in the voting process to pick their favorites. The ceremony will air on August 27.