The MTV Video Music Awards nominations on Tuesday prompted some controversy over the awards ceremony’s new category.
MTV announced a new, separate category for “Best K-pop” act, prompting massive backlash from fans who claim the new grouping is racist.
Several hashtags, including #VMAsRacist and #VMAsXenophobic, began trending on Twitter, with K-pop stans arguing that MTV was segregating the acts so they wouldn’t compete with Western talent.
Some fans felt that the category represented an effort to paint K-pop acts as niche when their work is well worthy of mainstream competition. Others pointed out that many K-pop acts have proven themselves to be formidable opponents on the charts. Several also noted that other international acts weren’t subject to a separate grouping.
K-pop group BTS received four nominations on Tuesday, including one in the new category. Several Twitter users cited the band’s continuous success in the Western market as proof that K-pop acts shouldn’t be isolated.
Last year, BTS became the first K-pop group to go gold, certified by the Recording Industry Association of America, with the single “Mic Drop” remix with Steve Aoki, featuring rapper Desiigner. The group has nabbed “Top Social Artist” several years in a row at the Billboard Music Awards as well.