Now that we’ve had about a day or two to digest and dissect the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards nominations, here are the 10 worst snubs this year.
1. Janelle Monáe
Janelle Monáe in the “Pynk” (left), “Make Me Feel” (center), and “Django Jane” (right) music videos.
Along with releasing the best album of 2018 so far, Janelle Monáe has been dropping incredible music videos. From the gloriously militaristic “Django Jane” visual to the vibrant “Make Me Feel” and provocative “Pynk” visuals, Monáe deserved more love in the top categories. “Pynk” was nominated for Best Video With A Message and “Make Me Feel” nabbed nominations for Best Editing and Best Art Direction, but Video of the Year and Artist of the Year nominations should have been in the bag. Also, MTV interestingly cut the Breakthrough Long Form Video category this year. Monáe’s Dirty Computer emotion picture would have been a surefire winner if this category was still available.
2. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift in the “Look What You Made Me Do” (left) and “Delicate” (right) music videos.
Taylor has become an increasingly vital artist for the VMAs. She’s given the show iconic moments like her notorious Kanye incident in 2009 (and again in 2016), or when she debuted her “Wildest Dreams” video in 2015. Last year, Taylor debuted her stunning “Look What You Made Me Do” video at the VMAs and subsequently broke the 24-Hour VEVO record. The video was dissected and discussed for weeks and helped catapult the song to #1. Not only was LWYMMD insanely popular, it was also an undeniably stellar music video.
So, why was Taylor absent from the marquee categories? She was snubbed for Video of the Year, Best Pop, and Artist of the Year. Some might argue “Look” was released too long ago, but Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” snagged a Best Pop nomination despite being a little over two months older than “Look.” If the VMAs were intent on neglecting “Look,” then they could have at least nominated “Delicate” for Best Pop.
“Look” did receive three nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Cinematography, but its absence in the main categories cannot be ignored or justified. Read our review of Swift’s reputation here.
3. Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa in the “New Rules” music video.
This isn’t exactly a “snub” per se, but Dua Lipa definitely deserved nominations for Video of the Year and Best Pop. Not only, did the “New Rules” music video rack up 1.3 billion views, it is also an excellent music video that will be referenced for years to come. Nonetheless, Lipa did receive nominations for Song of the Year (“New Rules”), Best Dance (“One Kiss”), and Best Choreography (“IDGAF”).
4. Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato in the “Fall In Line” music video.
Xtina’s musical comeback has been subpar at best so far, but the lack of nominations for her “Fall In Line” music video is bewildering. Xtina is 24x VMAs nominee, a 2x winner, and she was 1/3 of the legendary “Like A Virgin” performance in 2003. The unabashedly feminist visual, “Fall In Line,” deserved nominations in the categories of Best Video With A Message, Best Cinematography, and Best Collaboration. Read our review of Xtina’s Liberation here.
5. R&B Music
From left to right: “Boo’d Up,” “Garden,” “Love Lies,” “Sky Walker,” “Sativa”
Where is the category for R&B music? We have Best Pop, Best Latin, Best Dance, and more, but no category for R&B videos. Here are five worthy videos that should have been nominated, if this category existed: Ella Mai (“Boo’d Up”), Khalid & Normani (“Love Lies”), SZA (“Garden”), Miguel (“Sky Walker”), Jhené Aiko (“Sativa”),
6. Country Music
From left to right: “Marry Me,” “Meant to Be,” “Tequila,” “Cry Pretty,” “Rich”
Also, why is there no country category? Here are five potential nominees: Thomas Rhett (“Marry Me”), Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgie Line (“Meant to Be”), Dan + Shay (“Tequila”), Carrie Underwood (“Cry Pretty”), Maren Morris (“Rich”).
7. Justin Timberlake
From left to right: “Supplies,” “Filthy,” “Say Something”
Outside of his Chris Stapleton-assisted “Say Something,” the response to Timberlake’s Man of the Woods has been tepid at best. Timberlake is a former recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award so his absence in the main categories is a bit surprising. He did receive nods for Best Direction (Say Something) and Best Choreography (“Filthy“), but nominations for Best Art Direction for “Supplies” and Best Collaboration for “Say Something” should have been a given. Read our review of Man of the Woods here.
8. Kendrick Lamar
From left to right: “LOVE.,” “LOYALTY.,” “All the Stars,” “King’s Dead”
Last year, Kendrick Lamar owned the VMAs with 6 wins including Video of the Year and Best Hip Hop. This year he has two videos eligible from DAMN. (“LOYALTY.” and “LOVE.”) and two videos eligible from the Black Panther OST (“All the Stars” and “King’s Dead.”) All four videos were absolutely incredible and deserved nominations across the board. “All the Stars” deserved a nomination for Video of the Year, “King’s Dead” for Best Hip Hop, and “LOVE.” for Best Cinematography. Nevertheless, Kendrick did receive a nomination for Best Visual Effects for “All the Stars.” Read our reviews of the Black Panther soundtrack and movie.
SZA in “Broken Clocks” (left) and SZA with Childish Gambino in “Garden” (right).
Since the release of her Ctrl album last summer, SZA has been dominating the music world. To only see her name once on the nomination list for her own work (Best Art Direction, “The Weekend”) is appalling. “Broken Clocks” deserved a Best Direction nod, “Garden” deserved a Best Cinematography nod, and SZA herself deserved a nomination for Artist of the Year. This was an inexcusable oversight. Read our review of Ctrl here.
10. JAY Z
From left to right: “The Story of O.J.,” “4:44,” “Family Feud”
JAY Z dropped the best visual album of 2017 with 4:44, but none of his videos from that album were nominated. Of course, he’s probably fine with the eight nominations he earned as part of The Carters for “APESHIT,” but it’s still astounding. “The Story of O.J.” deserved nominations for Video of the Year, Best Hip Hop, Best Video With A Message, and Best Art Direction. “Family Feud” deserved nominations for Best Direction and Best Cinematography, and “4:44” deserved a nod for Best Choreography. The absence of the 4:44 visuals are especially mind-boggling when you consider that Footnotes for 4:44 got a nomination for Best Music Documentary at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. Read our review of JAY Z’s 4:44 here and The Carters’ Everything Is Love here.
Black Boy Bulletin’s 2018 VMAs Nominees playlist: Spotify | Apple Music
*all screengrabs, photographs, and pictures are not owned by Black Boy Bulletin, but by the respective copyright holders*