Today’s the day — the Best Video with a Social Message nominees are out! You can start voting for which vid gets to bring home the Moonman at the 2014 Video Music Awards, so check out our amazing contenders!
+ Angel Haze, “Battle Cry”
+ Watch “Battle Cry”
Up-and-coming rapper Angel Haze touches on a number of pro-social issues in the super personal “Battle Cry,” including mental illness, self-harm and abuse. When she spoke to MTV Act about recording the vid, she said, “It brought back memories of darker days, but it’s a story I have to tell because I owe it to people who are still in the dark to show them the light at the end of the tunnel. I saw the light, and so can they.”
+ Avicii, “Hey Brother”
+ Watch “Hey Brother”
When don’t you hear Avicii on the radio these days? But his music isn’t just about bopping your head to the beat — the video for “Hey Brother” also has stuff on Americana, supporting soldiers, and the good old bond between loving family members, particularly brothers.
+ Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
+ Watch “Pretty Hurts”
Beyoncé made her video for “Pretty Hurts” to show “all of the things women go through to keep up with the pressure that society puts on us.” Beyoncé plays a beauty pageant contestant in the vid, putting herself through physical and emotional torment trying to look a certain way and get the crown. The message in the end of the video is to do what makes you happy, not bow down to other people’s expectations.
+ David Guette, “One Voice”
+Watch “One Voice”
David Guetta specifically made a video for “One Voice” to help the United Nations. I mean, what isn’t pro-social in this video? It tackles everything from the need for healthcare to how all people are essentially the same at heart. “When I play, people are as one on the dance floor,” David said. “I want the same for the world. No matter how busy you are or where you are, we all share this planet and help each other. We should be as one.”
+ J. Cole, “Crooked Smile”
+ Watch “Crooked Smile”
J. Cole’s intense “Crooked Smile” video is a protest against violence and the war on drugs. “Recently, we’ve had people lose their lives, innocent individuals, during police raids, of basically petty drug deals,” said writer and director Sheldon Candis about the meaning behind this vid.
+ Kelly Rowland, “Dirty Laundry”
+ Watch “Dirty Laundry”
Kelly Rowland’s song and video is a very honest and personal take on getting out of an abusive relationship. Outside of her music Kelly is also an activist against domestic violence, and in an interview with her she told me, “I’ve heard one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. It’s a real issue. I recorded a song, ‘Dirty Laundry,’ that addresses abusive relationships.”