What to Expect at the 2017 VMAs: Katy Perry, Moon People, and the End of Gendered Categories

When MTV became one of the first American award shows to eliminate gender categories at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in May, people noticed.

“I give [MTV] credit for having the audacity to shake up the cultural DNA, to show us what a new kind of post-gender consciousness feels like,” said Variety columnist Owen Glieberman. “For kicking open a door by simply doing it.”

Now, MTV is doing it again.

In July, the network announced nominations for the VMAs – and gender-specific awards categories were conspicuously absent.

The categories formerly known as Best Female Video and Best Male Video have been consolidated into Artist of the Year. Nominees within this category include Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, and Kendrick Lamar, whose music video Humble received eight nominations – the highest total of all nominees this year.

Several days after this news broke, we learned that the iconic astronaut trophy has evolved alongside the categories. Meet the MTV Moon Person.

“Why should it be a man?” MTV President Chris McCarthy asked The New York Times. “It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist.”

MTV also announced that Katy Perry would host the event. Her music video Chained to the Rhythm featuring Skip Marley received five nominations, tying her with fellow Artist of the Year nominee The Weeknd for the second highest number of nominations this year.

The VMAs will also carry over the Movie and TV Awards’ new category, Best Fight Against the System.

The Movie and TV Awards’ category celebrated “characters fighting back against systems that hold them down,” and the VMA version will honor music videos that do the same thing, such as The Hamilton Mixtape’s Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) and Alessia Cara’s Scars to Your Beautiful. Both videos generated positive buzz for their stance on important issues: immigration and body positivity, respectively.

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Bebe Rexha Joins MTV Lore as Host of 2016 EMAs in Rotterdam

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

bebe-rexha

The MTV European Music Awards (EMAs) have spent more than two decades hop-scotching across the continent’s bottomless circuit of iconic cities, from recent stops in Milan, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid to its inaugural acts in the global hubs of London and Paris.

The spotlight shines very bright with a stage that big, and it takes someone at the pulsing vanguard of pop culture to stand at the center of it all. Past hosts have proven equal to the enormity of the moment, with a register that includes Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry, Eva Longoria, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran and Ruby Rose, among many others.

This year, as the EMAs land back in Rotterdam for the first time since 1997, singer, songwriter and producer Bebe Rexha will join that historic register, hosting the event and also performing.

There’s little doubt she belongs. Her No Broken Hearts video with Nicki Minaj has passed 125 million views on YouTube since posting in April:

 

Think she’s excited about hosting?

So are we. Earlier this week, MTV welcomed Rexha to its Times Square studio, where MTV News’ Sway sat down to ask her exactly how cool it was to host the EMAs. The whole thing streamed on Facebook Live.

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