Music videos can thrill, shock, confound and elate, but when they weave in a serious message they can also make a difference and teach us a little something. That’s why MTV is proud to introduce a new category at this year’s 2011 Video Music Awards, Best Video With a Message, which will spotlight clips from Lady Gaga, Pink, Katy Perry, Eminem, Taylor Swift and Rise Against that have a pro-social message.
The new category spotlights the intersection of music and social activism, highlighting artists who’ve made videos with positive messages that raise awareness of some of the most pressing issues facing today’s youth, from bullying and LGBT discrimination to domestic violence and self-image struggles.
“During the past year, we’ve seen a remarkable number of artists create music videos that went above and beyond simply offering entertainment value,” said MTV President Stephen Friedman. “Instead, these artists used their influence and voices to explore deeply personal experiences and issues they were passionate about to create meaningful music that resonated with millions inspiring life anthems for their fans.”
Each clip nominated for Best Video with a Message will be accompanied by some action steps from MTV Act – MTV’s online platform designed to amplify youth efforts to make things better – where the MTV audience can learn more about and take action on the issue addressed.
Read on for the nominees.
The nominated videos are:
>>> Lady Gaga, “Born This Way” – Praised for its message of equality and striving for a world without prejudice or judgment.
>>> Katy Perry, “Firework” – An uplifting anthem that celebrates the originality and uniqueness in all of us.
>>> Pink, “F**kin’ Perfect” – A four-letter ode to loving yourself and not letting others’ opinions bring you down.
>>> Taylor Swift, “Mean” – The ultimate nice girl warns haters that being mean will get you nowhere except Bitterville.
>>> Eminem feat. Rihanna, ” Love The Way You Lie” – A stirring hit that takes on the tricky topic of domestic violence and the cycle of abuse.
>>> Rise Against, “Make it Stop (September’s Children)” – After the string of teen suicides, the punk band provides a poignant reminder to LGBT teens feeling alone and despondent that “it gets better” and that life is worth living.
A number of these songs were inspired by media reports about the age-old difficulty of feeling like an outsider, but also by the bullying and harassment of LGBT teens, an issue MTV took on with it’s a Thin Line anti-cyberbullying and digital abuse campaign – launched in December 2009 – and now through this special VMA category.
Viewers can vote for Best Video with a Message starting today, as well as other general VMA categories, by visiting the VMA website or m.mtv.com on their mobile phone.
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live on Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 PM ET/PT.