The 2018 Billboard Music Award nominations are being revealed on Tuesday, and after a long three months since the Grammys, it's high time for another musical showdown between chart-toppers. Even though the full nominations list hasn't dropped yet, male artists dominate the Billboard Music Award nominees that were announced on Tuesday morning. This probably isn't the tune you want to hear after the 2018 #GrammysSoMale incident, because it seems like even in a completely different awards show, the same problems arise.
The BBMA's gender imbalance is easily discerned through the list of nominees, which — so far — includes seven categories: Top Artist, Top Female Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Hot 100 Song, Top Selling Album, Top Country Song, and Top New Artist. Only one woman, Taylor Swift, made the Top Artist nominees, and no female artist was nominated for the Top Hot 100 Song category. One song that almost objectively deserved a Top Hot 100 Song nomination from the past year is Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow," especially considering that thanks to her summer hit, in September, Cardi became the first solo female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 since Ms. Lauryn Hill did in 1998.
It's worth noting that the Billboard Music Award Nominees are chosen the following way, as noted on their website:
"Billboard Music Awards nominees are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social engagement. These measurements are tracked year-round by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Music and Next Big Sound. The awards are based on the reporting period of April 8, 2017 through March 31, 2018."
But how could a record-breaking hit not get Cardi B a Top Hot 100 Song nomination? Something seems off-key here, and even though Cardi got nominated for both Top Female Artist and Top New Artist, she deserves better (even if Invasion of Privacy came out too late to be considered for a nomination) — as do plenty of other female artists.
The songs — by "all-male artists," to paraphrase Natalie Portman — nominated for Top Hot 100 Song at the BBMA's include Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee's "Despacito," Kendrick Lamar's "Humble," Bruno Mars' "That’s What I Like," Post Malone ft. 21 Savage's "Rockstar," and Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You." While each of these songs is a certified bop, it's hard not to get flashbacks from the 2018 Grammys at which only one woman, Alessia Cara, won one of the nine major awards. If you think about it, it all starts with the nominations, and if women are shut out completely from major categories like the BBMA's Top Artist and Top Hot 100 Song, women can't win at all — in more ways than one.
The Billboard Music Awards' other categories weren't much better than the Top Hot 100 Song nominees, either. The Top New Artist nominees include Camila Cabello and Cardi B, along with Khalid, Kodak Black, and 21 Savage. Similarly, the Top Selling Album noms list Kendrick Lamar's DAMN, Pink's Beautiful Trauma, Ed Sheeran's ÷ (Divide), Chris Stapleton's From A Room: Volume 1, and Taylor Swift's reputation. In fact, the only category that included a majority of female nominations is the Top Female Artist category. All of the mixed-gender categories — at least out of the first seven to be announced — include more male artists than females.
After the 2018 Grammys came under fire for their lack of female award-winners, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Recording Academy launched an independent investigation of the organization's gender discrimination. That investigation came after the Academy's President and CEO, Neil Portnow, suggested that women needed to "step up" if they wanted improved recognition for female artists at the Grammys. Understandably, Portnow's misguided statement was publicly lambasted by plenty of celebrities, including Pink, who wrote a handwritten note on Twitter.
"Women in music don't need to 'Step up' — women have been stepping since the beginning of time. stepping up, and also stepping [aside.] Women OWNED music this year. They've been KILLING IT. And every year before this," Pink wrote.
Unfortunately, this year's BBMAs appear to have a similar problem to the 2018 Grammys, because again, women are repeatedly left off from major awards' nominations. Pink, for instance, is nominated for Top Selling Album with Beautiful Trauma, but the awards show failed to include her in their Top Artist category. If you think about the last year in music, chances are that Pink, Demi Lovato, Cardi B, Kesha — who wasn't nominated for any BBMA so far — and Alessia Cara made up a huge portion of your top playlists. These women deserve better representation in awards shows, and hopefully the next round of the Billboard Music Awards' nominees will do a better job with honoring female artists.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include more information about how exactly the BBMA nominees are chosen.