MTV scraps gender categories as Kendrick Lamar leads VMA nods

Kendrick Lamar to perform at MTV Video Music Awards


New York - MTV has rid itself of gender-specific categories as the network revealed nominees on 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 recognise activist music.

The awards will air worldwide from Los Angeles on 27 August. 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, recognises the top British or Irish album each year - and 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, 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 Beyoncé 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 anti-immigrant 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.


SEE A FULL LIST OF THE MTV VMA NOMINEES HERE:

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

Artist Of The Year
Bruno Mars
Kendrick Lamar 
Ed Sheeran
Ariana Grande
The Weeknd 
Lorde 

Best New Artist
Khalid 
Kodak Black 
SZA 
Young M.A
Julia Michaels 
Noah Cyrus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Cinematography
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.” (Scott Cunningham) 
Imagine Dragons, “Thunder” (Matthew Wise)
Ed Sheeran, “Castle On The Hill” (Steve Annis) 
DJ Shadow f. Run The Jewels, “Nobody Speak” (David Proctor) 
Halsey, “Now or Never” (Kristof Brandl)

Best Direction
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.” (Spencer Graves)
Bruno Mars, “24K Magic” (Alex Delgado) 
Katy Perry f. Migos, “Bon Appetit” (Natalie Groce) 
DJ Khaled f. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, “Wild Thoughts” (Damian Fyffe)
The Weeknd, “Reminder” (Creative Director: Lamar C Taylor / Co-creative Director: Christo Anesti)

Best Visual Effects
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”(Company: Timber/Lead: Jonah Hall)
A Tribe Called Quest, “Dis Generation” (Company: Bemo/Lead: Brandon Hirzel) 
KYLE f. Lil Yachty, “iSpy” (Company: Gloria FX/Leads: Max Colt & Tomash Kuzmytskyi)
Katy Perry f. Skip Marley, “Chained To The Rhythm” (Company: MIRADA)
Harry Styles, “Sign Of The Times” (Company: ONE MORE/Lead: Cédric Nivoliez)

Best Choreography
Kanye West, “Fade” (Teyana Taylor, Guapo, Jae Blaze & Derek ‘Bentley’ Watkins) 
Ariana Grande f. Nicki Minaj, “Side To Side” (Brian & Scott Nicholson) 
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.” (Dave Meyers) 
Sia, “The Greatest” (Ryan Heffington)
Fifth Harmony f. Gucci Mane, “Down” (Sean Bankhead)

Best Editing
Future, “Mask Off” (Vinnie Hobbs of VHPost)
Young Thug, “Wyclef Jean” (Ryan Staake & Eric Degliomini)
Lorde, “Green Light” (Nate Gross of Exile Edit) 
The Chainsmokers f. Halsey, “Closer” (Jennifer Kennedy) 
The Weeknd, “Reminder” (Red Barbaza)

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