The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards have come and gone once again in typical fashion. As the hip, edgy younger sibling of award season, we can expect outlandish outfits, forced controversies, and explosive performances. Everyone gets an easy laugh and harmless head-bob on a Sunday evening. But when you see someone in a foil dress and sneakers bouncing around to their halfway-decent song (and not even singing OR lip-syncing it), it’s hard not to imagine a slew of artists who should be up there instead.
In recent memory, artists and celebrities have transformed the award show stage into a soapbox for celebrating diversity, combating hate, and embracing unity. This year’s VMAs followed suit with no shortage of snide remarks directed at 45 and not-so-unexpected jokes about fake news and Russian pop stars. One thing that hasn’t changed, though: the absence of Pilipin@ artists across all award categories. Our community boasts an abundance of talent in the performing arts and the time has come to recognize those who are carving a path in the music industry. Creative expression through song and dance brings us together time and time again. However, mainstream music keeps sleeping on groundbreaking productions that give sound to our stories.
The list of Pilipin@ artists to follow stretches on in all directions. And they certainly don’t fall into the prescribed categories of any award show currently in existence. Rather than boxing beautiful, influential work into someone else’s mode of thinking, we’ve taken the task of doling out figurative trophies into our own hands. Without further ado, here are 10 artists who deserve a Moon Person:
Best EP — Sosupersam: Garden
Listen to songs from the album Garden – EP, including “One”, “A Little Wrong”, “Anyway”, and many more. Buy the album…itunes.apple.com
Best Spoken Word — Ruby Ibarra: Ang Araw sa Likod Mo
Best Dance Pop Artist — Manila Killa
Best Pilipin@ Event/R&B Party — 143
Best Choreography — Brian Puspos: Insomnia
Take note he’s dropping his new EP “Sweet 290” on September 4, so watch out for that!
Best Collaboration — Rocky Rivera and DJ Roza: Rock&Roz Mixtape Series
Best Resistance Soundtrack — Bambu: Prey for the Devil
Best New Artist/Rising Artist — Jay Som
Video of the Year — Bruno Mars: Versace
Video Vanguard — Bruno Mars
We’d be remiss not to show love for artists of color who are speaking powerful truths and making strides in the mainstream.
Kendrick took home 6 awards out of 8 nominations for “Humble,” including Video of the Year. The video’s juxtaposition of his journey as a rapper against religious iconography pushes viewers to consider the irony of “making it” in conditions that largely try to keep Black and Brown people down. Khalid garnered the most fan votes to win Best New Artist, while MTV awarded all six nominees for “Best Fight Against the System,” which was presented by Heather Heyer’s mother. While there must have been a better name for this award (perhaps something with “social justice” or “human rights” was too aggressive for network television), recognizing the importance of these songs is quite refreshing. Now we wait patiently for the artists’ call to action and tangible impact.
Millennials certainly can’t discount the progress that the VMAs and other award shows have made. When celebrities preach self-love, authenticity, and empowerment, we win. But we are also allowed to be critical of what other messages are sent when we don’t see people who look like us on stage, or even in the audience. At the end of the day, these award shows were not made to feature Pilipin@s and celebrate their work. It is up to us to support artists who are pursuing their passions in an industry where they are easily overlooked. Buying music, rocking merch, and sharing on social media can push these artists into spotlight. Who are you listening to? Put us on in the comments! …and see you at the next 143?