Nicki Minaj is already upset about the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, and they don't air until August 30. The nominations, which were announced this morning on Beats 1, failed to include Minaj's incredibly impactful video for her song "Anaconda" in the running for the most prestigious award of the night: Video of the Year.
"Anaconda" made a lot of noise last year. The art for the single became a popular meme almost immediately, and at the VMAs, popularity counts. Buzz counts. The VMAs have never been an award show that even presumes to be about artistry. The VMAs are about controversy, impact, and cultural innovation, and they have been since their creation in the '80s.
The nominations for Video of the Year in 2015 are:
- Beyoncé's “7/11”
- Ed Sheeran's “Thinking Out Loud”
- Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar's “Bad Blood”
- Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars's “Uptown Funk"
- Kendrick Lamar's “Alright”
Minaj tweeted her dissatisfaction this afternoon:
Who is the "other girl" Minaj is obviously shading? It could be Beyoncé, but that seems very unlikely. It could be Taylor Swift. Or it could be a long-standing hit at Iggy Azalea for last year's "Fancy" nomination. It could also be a hit at last year's winner Miley Cyrus for her "Wrecking Ball" video.
Swift's "Bad Blood" is an incredibly popular video — partially because it had a monumental PR campaign — but does that make it one of the top 5 best videos of the year? Probably not. In which case the VMAs must be deciding the nominations for Video of the Year based on popularity. But even that argument doesn't hold up. "Anaconda" has 200 million more views that "7/11" and 430 million more views than "Alright." "Anaconda" also has more views than "Bad Blood" — although it has been out 10 months longer.
So why wasn't Minaj on the list for the biggest award of the night? "Anaconda" is nominated for both "Best Female Video" and "Best Hip Hop Video," but it somehow didn't make the cut for "Video of the Year," which seems a little insane. With five nominations in each category it seems like the judges haphazardly scooped up the top 3 male videos and the top 2 female videos and threw them into the Video of the Year category — the winner of which is voted on by fans.
In any case, Minaj has a point. It's absurd to even think that "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran, an innocuous wedding song with incredibly boring video of a man and a woman dancing, had the same kind of impact as "Anaconda."
I wouldn't go so far as to argue that "Anaconda" deserves to win the Video of the Year award — "Uptown Funk" probably had more cultural dominance, spurring covers with old people and other parodies — but it certainly deserves to be nominated.
Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.