Amid Social Unrest, MTV Gives Their Response: Tolerance

Cat Henderson

The MTV VMA’s, held August 27th, took place during a storm of political and social unrest. In an effort to make a bold statement, MTV introduced their previously-named “Best Video with a Social Message” category under a new name. Now called “Best Fight Against the System”, the category’s name lives up to the exemplary artists that were rightfully nominated.

Shailene Woodley takes a selfie with two Indegenous ladies to fight DAPL. credit: Instagram / Shailene Woodley

2017 is desperate for breakthrough artists willing to become pioneers. We’re in the midst of a radical movement and using music to promote tolerance has, historically, resulted in success.

Nominees in this newly named category included Shailene Woodley’s bone-chilling song “Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” which features Indigenous musicians and allies who are using their voices to protect the people of North Dakota at all costs.

Solo hip-hop artist and Black Eyes Peas member, Taboo, has openly stated his disgust in the pipeline matters and shamelessly asks the officers on DAPL grounds “Where is the love?” .

Hamilton Mixtape’s relevant and appropriate “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” has become an anthem that highlights the contributions immigrants have brought to American soil. Lin Manuel Miranda is a force to be reckoned with and urges everyone, especially those in politics, to uphold our American values.

Along with Woodley and the Hamilton cast, other nominees included John Legend’s “Surefire”, Alessia Cara’s “Scars to your Beautiful”, Big Sean’s “Light” and Logic’s “Black Spiderman”. All touch on a controversial topic, whether it’s body-positivity or senseless violence. Each deserve to be in the category as much as their counterparts and MTV knowing this, awarded them all winners.

We’re all familiar with the recent Charlottesville riots and counter-protester Heather Heyer who was killed in the chaos. MTV took the 2017 VMA’s to the next level by inviting Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, to use the platform to announce the creation of the Heather Heyer Foundation. This foundation is non-profit and will grant scholarships to “help more people join Heather’s fight against hatred.” Fittingly, Bro also announced the nominees for the “Best Fight Against the System Award.”