Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t care about the VMA’s at all but when something this stupid happens my hands are tied and I have to talk about it.
They created a new category* “Best Fight Against the System” which is a fine thing to do, social justice and all that jazz. I like the idea of awarding musicians for writing songs with messages deeper than money, relationships gone wrong, or partying. Even though I like the thought, the whole thing rubbed me the wrong way. I prefer it when things stay in their lane. The category has nothing to do with the music video, which seems odd for an award show for music videos. If we want to talk musical content then lets go Grammys. It’d be like giving out an award at the Super Bowl to the team that had the best fiscal year. They’re somewhat related, but not really at all.
So, besides deciding to air the VMAs against the EPIC Game of Thrones season finale, how could they screw this up even more? Oh that’s easy. You turn that category into a bulls-eye for what’s wrong with today’s culture by awarding every nominee a winner. Yes, they said everyone won. It had such promise to be a great moment too. They had Robert E. Lee’s great great grandson out there denouncing violence and hate, they had the mother of Heather Heyer on stage to promote the cause, and just when the moment was building to let one of these artists give an acceptance speech to preach their cause the rug was pulled out from under them and they split the award 5 ways without getting out of their seats. Awful decision. Anticlimactic to the MAX.
The thing some people don’t realize is that if everyone wins, that means nobody loses. On the surface that sounds great, but so did “deep fried oreos” before you had the chance to think about it for a few seconds. If nobody loses then that doesn’t push anyone to be greater than they are. If just showing up is enough then there is no motivation to become exceptional. Getting nominated is already an honor, only 5 songs created in a tumultuous year for our country get that recognition. Splitting it 5 ways only cheapens the category that should have been promoted as the most important of them all. Be better than that. Classic case of doing too much. (or as the young people say “that’s so extra”)
*This is technically not a “new” category because it used to be called “Best Video with a Social Message” but they changed it so they could honor nominees who do good work outside of their music. But if it’s got a new name, and new criteria, then in my opinion it’s a brand new category. That’s just logic.