If you want to understand how MTV sees its audience in 2017, you
could do worse than You Tubing some highlights from August’s iteration of the network’s flagship broadcast, MTV Video Music Awards.
Although the show nodded to the network’s most news-making moment of the past
decade—Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift at the 2009 awards—by debuting S wift’s
“Look What You Made Me Do” video (the latest reverberation in the stars’ feud), the
rest of the live broadcast was drama free.
The categories, to begin with, eschewed gender—just as the MTV Movie & TV
Awards had three months earlier—so that Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars competed
on level ground with Lorde and Ariana Grande for Artist of the Year (Sheeran won).
The Moonman statuette itself, an homage to the iconic flag-planting astronaut logo
By Jonathan Ringen
With Gen Z
M TV Networks’
listening to his
from the network’s early days,
was rebranded as the Moon Person. Performances from Kendrick
Lamar, Logic, and Alessia Cara
all had a distinctly empowering
slant, addressing black identity,
suicide prevention, and body
image, respectively. Artists with
seemingly divergent fan bases—
such as Sheeran and the rapper Lil
Uzi Vert—came together onstage.