BTS fans criticise 2019 MTV VMAs snubs and new “Best K-pop” category

#VMAsRacist trends after the nominations were announced

MTV has unveiled the nominees for its upcoming Video Music Awards 2019, leaving BTS fans fuming over the group’s lack of nominations in main categories and K-pop lovers critical of a newly established category dedicated to the genre.

BTS only garnered four nominations, including Best Collaboration, Best Art Direction, Best Choreography and Best K-pop. The last category is a new one, pitting BTS against BLACKPINK, Monsta X, NCT 127, EXO and Tomorrow X Together. ARMYs – the nickname of BTS’ fanbase – took to social media sites to voice their frustrations.


Despite breaking numerous YouTube records with their video for ‘Boy With Luv’, the K-pop group were absent from major categories such as Song of the Year and Video of the Year. Fans were also up in arms over the introduction of a separate category for K-pop, calling it a racist move by the awards show to keep BTS from competing with Western artists.  The hashtag #VMAsRacist soon trended on Twitter.

Besides BTS fans, listeners of K-pop in general also questioned the Best K-pop category, citing the seemingly arbitrary nature of the nominations and the lack of recognition for popular groups such as TWICE and Red Velvet.

“This category nor the show should be taken seriously at all,” wrote Reddit user IceQueen1028. “All the other groups are actively pursuing the US market [yet] EXO gets thrown in because their fan base is still huge and their overall presence in K-pop can’t be ignored.”

“I can’t help but wonder how familiar the creator of this category is with K-pop,” wrote Whell055 on the same Reddit thread. “Shocked there’s no TWICE (and possibly Mamamoo or Red Velvet as well), and that most of these songs are just… English releases [instead of the] bigger K-Pop hits in the Western community this year.”


Earlier this year, BTS dropped their ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’ EP, which quickly topped charts around the world, including the Billboard 200. Their video for the single ‘Boy With Luv’ also became the fastest-viewed video in YouTube history, amassing 74.6 million views in the first 24 hours online. Since then, the K-pop boyband have launched their ‘BTS World’ mobile game as well as dropped several collaborations with Western artists.