Taylor Swift’s glittering, empowering “Mean” video nabbed an MTV Video Music Award nod thanks to its feel-good theme. It’s up for Best Video With a Message. This is the first time MTV is handing out a Moonman in this category, but given that over the past year more and more music videos have aimed to send fans positive messages, it feels like the right time to do it.
The video follows Swift as she makes her way from small-town performer to full-fledged superstar. Little vignettes also follow other characters as they go from being bullied to being empowered.
The nod seems to have Swift quite excited. She tweeted, “Wait, what?! The ’Mean’ video got nominated for a VMA!! BEYOND excited. If you feel like voting …… MTV.com.” She followed the message with not one but three smiley faces.
Swift’s video will face off against Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Pink’s “F—in’ Perfect,” Eminem featuring Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” and Rise Against’s “Make It Stop (September’s Children).” All the clips are being recognized for having a positive social message.
The new category spotlights the intersection of music and social activism, highlighting artists who’ve raised awareness of some of the most pressing issues facing today’s youth, from bullying and LGBT discrimination to domestic violence and struggles with self-image.
MTV News spoke to “Mean” director Declan Whitebloom after the clip was released earlier this year. He explained that Swift wanted the video to mirror the song’s message. “We all have similar stories in our life that hit similar emotional cues, and to open it up and make it broader about lots of people and situations … makes it much more accessible,” he said. “It means more in a general way. I think [the message] goes across the board.”
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live on Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT. See the list of nominees, revisit last year’s highlights and vote for your favorites in the general categories by visiting VMA.MTV.com.