The American Music Awards are coming up on Sunday. Tracee Ellis Ross is the host for this year’s ceremony and it’s going to be lit. She'll follow in the footsteps of big names who have hosted the show in the past like Diddy, J. Lo, and her own mum, Diana Ross.
Other women who are set to grace the stage this year are performers like Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, and Alessia Cara. But the purpose of the awards is to honour the music that fans think deserve accolades. However, when the nominees were released last month, it was obvious that women were missing from some key categories.
For the most part, women appear in typical places on the nominee list: Favourite Female Artist categories for R&B/Soul, Pop/Rock, and Country. This is where some of our favourites like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Rihanna are all being honoured. The major categories, however – like Artist of the Year and Favourite Album – are all dominated by men.
Among five nominees, only one woman, Julia Michaels, was nominated for New Artist of the Year. And Halsey is a featured artist on The Chainsmokers song that was nominated for Best Collaboration and Favourite Pop/Rock Song. The only other two outliers are Shakira being nominated for Favourite Latin Artist and Lauren Daigle for Favourite Contemporary Inspirational Artist.
These numbers are disheartening. While there appears to be major shit happening in film and television – which have been plagued with as much sexism and misogyny as any other kind of media – these nominations make it seem like the music industry has remained stagnant. The AMAs stand out from the Grammys because they rely on public and fan polls to give out awards, but in order for an artist to be nominated, they still rely on a combinations of record sales, charts, social media, and video views. In other words, there are strategic decisions being made about which artists should represent American Music, and this year, they aren't women.
For what it’s worth, another highlight of the 2017 AMAs is that Diana Ross is going to receive the highest honour of the night. The diva with a decades-long legacy – including everything from topping charts to jiggling Lil’ Kim’s exposed boob – is the recipient of the AMAs Lifetime Achievement award for her contributions to both music and pop culture. She's more than deserving, and her daughter’s role in the ceremony will only sweeten the deal. But let’s all hope that it doesn’t take a lifetime for the rest of the music industry to get its act together on gender.