The world might seem like a bleak place a lot of the time, but there are some people in it trying to fix that. Six of those figures are up for Hero Of The Year at the VO5 NME Awards 2018 – a little recognition for leading us towards better days. All of them deserve a nice, shiny award for their efforts, to be honest, but there can only be one winner. Who will you vote for?
The VO5 NME Awards 2018 will take place at London’s O2 Academy Brixton on February 14.
Who: Impressive pop star who responded to tragedy in the most admirable of ways.
Heroic moments: When her Manchester concert became the site of a terror attack, killing and injuring fans in the process, Ariana wouldn’t have been blamed from retreating and laying low. Instead, she organised an incredible, defiant benefit concert just weeks after the attack, bringing some of music’s biggest names together to honour the victims and raise more than £17 million for them and their families. She also visited injured fans in hospital and reportedly offered to pay for the funerals of those killed in the bombing. A class act.
Who: Actor and activist who helped reignite the #MeToo movement.
Heroic moments: McGowan was one of the first stars to speak out against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein last year, sparking the wave of sexual misconduct allegations (all of which he has denied) that are now forcing huge change in the entertainment industry and beyond. The actor has been fearless and brave in talking about her alleged experiences, and has undoubtedly prevented more women from having to go through similar ordeals in the future.
Who: The man who should be PM.
Heroic moments: Almost toppled the Tories by leading a Labour party with policies that had the people of the UK’s best interests at heart, including scrapping tuition fees, giving more money to the NHS and stopping it from being privatised, getting rid of zero hours contracts, making higher education more accessible to poorer families, and increasing taxes for the highest earners to name but a few. Corbyn gave us hope for a better country, and while he wasn’t elected this time, he laid some important foundations for getting things back on track when the next opportunity arises.
Who: Wolf Alice’s leader and future icon.
Heroic moments: Ellie (and her bandmates) used her voice to encourage their fans to vote in the general election, by posting about issues on Twitter, filming a message to vote for Labour, and appearing at Labour rallies. She was also a part of the Tories Out march that was held after Theresa May was narrowly kept in power, helping to highlight the need to keep fighting. On a different note, she also encouraged a new generation of female musicians by inviting young fans on stage to play her guitar part in ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ on Wolf Al’s winter tour.
Who: Comedic grime character who went viral with ‘Man’s Not Hot’.
Heroic moments: Sometimes we all need a bit of comic relief in this world, and Big Shaq – aka Michael Dapaah – provided that in spades this year. His single ‘Man’s Not Hot’ inspired a ton of memes, and reached far beyond the grime community, even being quoted by Jeremy Corbyn at one point.
Who: National treasure.
Heroic moments: Called for more to be done to protect oceans after witnessing the damage plastic is doing to marine life while filming Blue Planet II. The return of that series 16 years after the original was pretty heroic, too, giving us an awe-inspiring look into the deep blue.