Female/POC Video of the Year Winners at the MTV VMAs: By The Numbers

Singer Rihanna performs "Umbrella" at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas September 9, 2007. Rihanna won the award for Monster Single of the Year for the song. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)

Singer Rihanna performs “Umbrella” at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas September 9, 2007. Rihanna won the award for Monster Single of the Year for the song. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)

When the nominees for MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) were announced earlier this summer, acclaimed rapper Nicki Minaj pointed out the glaring absence of women of color in the Video of the Year category. She had a point: The video for her song “Anaconda” broke VEVO viewing records, racking up 19.6M+ views in 24 hours, and propelled a huge cultural impact. (I know you know of at least one person who dressed in one of Nicki’s outfits for Halloween.) To have Minaj’s video snubbed ignores all of those not-insignificant achievements.

I had a sneaking suspicion that the numbers were pretty dismal, not just for women performers of color, but also for women performers in general. I wanted to see exactly how skewed the numbers were, so I looked up the data.

First, some context:

31: Years the Video of the Year Award has been presented (this year will be the 32nd)

69: Number of solo musicians who’ve been nominated

16: Number of solo musicians who’ve won

67: Number of groups who’ve been nominated (including feature artists, not counting 2015 nominees)

15: Number of groups who’ve won (including feature artists)

 

Let’s look at the stats of the women:

13: years where women solo artists or groups won

0: years after the award began that the first woman artist was nominated (Cyndi Lauper in 1984, nominated during the Award’s first year)

6: years after the Award began that the first woman artist won (Sinead O’Connor in 1990)

4: times Madonna has been nominated

1: time Madonna has won (1998)

 

And the stats of women of color:

9: years after the Award began that a female group of color was nominated (En Vogue in 1993)

11: years after the Award began that a female group of color won (TLC in 1995)

1: times a women of color group won (TLC in 1995)

  • If you counted the “Lady Marmalade” group who won in 2001, which had Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, and Mya, the number goes up to 2.

1: time Missy Elliott has been a double-nominee in the category (2001)

2: winners that have won twice (Missy Elliott in 2001 and 2003, Rihanna in 2007 and 2012)

1: time that Beyoncé has won (2009)

2: times that Beyoncé has been nominated, not counting her 2015 nomination (2007 and 2009)

 

You don’t have to be a math genius to see that Minaj was correct about the institutional bias in the music industry with regards to awards, and that this should not be tolerated.

This year’s VMAs will air on Sunday, Aug. 30th.

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#ThrowbackThursday: TLC at the MTV VMAs, 1995

TLC at the 1995 MTV VMAs (NY Daily News)

TLC at the 1995 MTV VMAs (NY Daily News)

In 1995 (twenty years ago!), pop sensation TLC won the Video of the Year Award at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). This was pretty special for a couple of reasons: Not only were T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chili the first all-women group to win the award, they were also the first women of color to do so.

They’re still the only all women-of-color group to win the coveted award. (The next closest group was the “Lady Marmalade” quintet from 2001, whose three out of five members were women of color.)

When the Video of the Year nominations came out earlier this year, star rapper Nicki Minaj rightly called out the nominations for their lack of diversity. (Beyoncé was the only woman of color nominated this year, up for her “7/11” video.) Let’s hope the music industry heeds her call, and ups the diversity quotient in the future. It’s absurd that it’s two decades from TLC’s historic win, and we still have to have this conversation.

Google Trends: Was 2014 Really the Year of Eating Booty?

Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda' still (NY Daily News)

Nicki Minaj ‘Anaconda’ still (NY Daily News)

Last year, we heard all about how 2014 was the Year of Eating Booty (as termed by “Gawker”). Now we can’t go around and confirm this by asking randoms on the street if they got into anal play (come on, you expect everyone to tell the truth?), but we can check out Google Trends to see if anal terms were searched for more often.

I searched popular terms for the (somewhat-) transgressive sex act, and used a timeframe of January 2013-January 2015. I wanted to see how the entirety of 2014 compared to the year before for anal play-related search terms.

First, let’s start with the proper term for eating out your partner’s asshole:

Analingus:

Google Trends: 'Analingus' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Analingus’ Search Term

There’s a bit of an increase, with a slightly steeper incline coming (heh) in the second half of last year.

 

Eating Booty:

Google Trends: 'Eating Booty' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Eating Booty’ Search Term

Tyrone Palmer’s “Gawker” piece was published on Sept. 12. Those first initial rapid spikes occur in August, so we can’t argue that the “Gawker” piece had anything to do with that. It could’ve been responsible for the spikes throughout the rest of 2014 (not to mention that one huge spike at the end), but it’s pretty inconclusive.

 

Rimming:

Google Trends: 'Rimming' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Rimming’ Search Term

This one stays pretty flat throughout. (I have to say, I never heard this term used much last year. It tended towards more colorful expressions for the act.)

 

Salad Tossing:

Google Trends: 'Tossing Salad' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Tossing Salad’ Search Term

Like “analingus” and “eating booty,” this one started to get more active during the second half of 2014. My guess here is that it’s due to the popularity of Nicki Minaj’s single “Anaconda,” which was released on August 4th. (In it, she tells listeners that “this dude named Michael…tossed my salad like his name Romaine.”)

 

Conclusion:

2014 definitely showed an increase in Google search terms related to eating out one’s asshole, though these mainly took place during the second half of the year. I’d have to say that yes, 2014 was the year of eating booty, due to both “Gawker” and Nicki Minaj.

Sex & Stats’ 2014 Year in Review

Beyonce's 'Flawless' performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Award

Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless’ performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

We’re almost done with 2014, so let’s take a look back at some important movements in the world of sexuality.

Trans Issues:

After a long time, the trans community has come into the spotlight.

It started back in early March, when Jared Leto took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing trans woman Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.” This was the first time an actor won an Oscar for a trans role, and the second time an actor playing a trans character had been nominated for an Academy Award. (The first time was when Felicity Huffman played a trans woman in 2005’s “Transamerica,” and garnered a Best Actress nomination.) The film also sparked a dialogue about cisgendered actors playing trans roles.

The community has been making strides on a local level as well. This fall, a Texas high school elected its first trans homecoming king.

 

Anal Play:

“We’ve been experimenting with the butt,” a good friend of mine said recently. Though she was referring to what she and her partner were getting up to, this statement also applies to our culture’s newfound fascination with anal play.

Ever since a stripper alleged that Drake enjoyed having his salad tossed, it seems like anal play and rappers  are having a major intersectionality moment. Nicki Minaj has proven this most frequently with her singles “Anaconda” and “Only,” positing herself in the power position of receiving, and greatly enjoying, having her asshole eaten out.

Anal sex also appeared on our broadcast TV screens in mainstream American homes this fall. The “How To Get Away With Murder” pilot and an episode of “The Mindy Project” both featured the formerly taboo act (the former more explicitly than the latter). Bonus points for both featuring interracial couples as well.

 

Feminism:

This is technically a holdover from 2013, but feminism continued to stake its claim in culture this year.

“Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson gave an inspiring speech to the United Nations launching the HeForShe campaign, mobilizing men to do their part for feminism. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld ended his spring 2015 runway show with models holding up signs painted with feminist slogans. Singer John Legend declared that society would be better if all men were be feminists.

Of course, Beyoncé also had a hand in this. (No surprise there, as her 2013 self-titled album sampled Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie’s now-famous TED talk on feminism.) She started it off strong in January authoring an essay on workplace inequality for “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink.”

But that was small compared to what was to come: During the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé performed “***Flawless” in front of a giant lit marquee, branding herself as a FEMINIST. IN ALL CAPS. It certainly raised consciousness for many people, because Google searches for “feminist” and “beyonce feminist” majorly spiked that week.

 

2014 has been very eventful, and let’s hope society keeps making sex-positive strides forward in 2015. See you next year!

Rap Singles’ Analingus References: By The Numbers

Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda' Still (YouTube)

Nicki Minaj ‘Anaconda’ Still (YouTube)

Analingus seems to all over right now, and has lodged itself into our continuing conversation on “acceptable” sexual mores. It seemingly all started earlier this year when a stripper alleged that she tossed Drake’s salad, and then we were off to the races on the topic. (Drake has neither confirmed nor publicly denied these allegations.)

Since we’re talking about it, I wanted to see if popular music reflected the trend. I looked at certain rap artists’ lyrics to see if analingus infiltrated any rap singles released this year, looking for such tell-tale phrases as “anal,” “booty,” “salad tossing,” etc.

Drake:

Drake released two singles this year, “Worst Behavior” (from 2013’s “Nothing Was The Same”) and “0 to 100/The Catch Up” (from next year’s “Views From The 6”).

Neither song directly references analingus.

 

Lil’ Wayne: 

Lil’ Wayne dropped five singles this year: “Rich As Fuck,” “Krazy,” “Gotti,” “Start A Fire,” “Believe Me” and “Grindin’.” (Drake features on the last two songs). All singles were off “Tha Carter V.”

None of the songs reference eating booty.

 

Wiz Khalifa:

Aside from his contributions to the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and WWE 2K15 soundtracks (we’re not counting gun-for-hire works), Khalifa released six singles from “Blacc Hollywood:” “We Dem Boyz,” “KK,” “You and Your Friends,” “Stayin Out All Night,” “Promises” and “So High.”

In “We Dem Boyz,” Khalifa doesn’t mention his booty-eating preferences, but seemingly calls out Nicki Minaj on hers: “Do it just like Nicki gon’ and bend it over.”

Overall, Khalifa’s much more interested in smoking weed that eating out anyone’s ass.

 

Trey Songz:

Songz also released six singles this year: “NaNa,” “Smart Phones,” “Foreign,” “Change Your Mind,” “What’s Best For You,” and “Touchin’, Lovin'” (featuring Nicki Minaj).

In “Foreign,” Songz throws in a few references to a woman’s ass (that it’s large and she’s tweaking), but he stops short of implying analingus.

Though Minaj guests on “Touchin’, Lovin'” and raps abut her sexual prowess, she only talks about her penetrative sexual prowess and doesn’t mention giving or receiving analingus.

 

Nicki Minaj:

It’s been a banner year for Nicki Minaj, and her ass. The rapper has brought her signature aggressive, take-no-prisoners style into the analingus arena, and we’re all eating it up (ha). We’ve heard about her booty getting love in two separate singles this year.

In “Anaconda,” from “this dude named Michael:” “he toss my salad like his name Romaine”

In “Only,” subverting the traditional passive female tone and telling us what she’d have Drake and Lil Wayne do: “menage with ’em and let ’em eat my ass like a cupcake.”

 

I find it very interesting that a woman is the only one opening putting it out there that she enjoys analingus.  Since women have traditionally and culturally been seen as docile and passive sexual beings (when they’re even afforded that agency), I love that Nicki Minaj is subverting the expectation and going on the offensive and owning it.

Though analingus awareness is growing, it isn’t yet resonating within rap lyrics, with the exception of Minaj. That might change as the act goes more mainstream.

Just How Popular Is Analingus?

Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" cover

Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” cover

Rimming. Salad tossing. Eating booty.

All of a sudden, it’s the sex act everyone can’t stop talking about (or reading about). But who’s actually actually doing it?

Sadly, I couldn’t find any specific surveys dedicated to purely analingus. (Kinsey Institute, want to get on that?) But we can deduce a couple of things from general anal sex stats.

A 2010 “Psychology Today” article states that “recent surveys” found that around 15% of Americans engage or have engaged in “some form” of anal sex. This amounts to around 20M people. (Also, props to the author for noting upfront that he couldn’t find any analingus stats himself.) But this doesn’t tell us a) how often, or not, Americans are engaged in anal play, and b) what exactly they’re doing with the ass. We also don’t know how “recent” these surveys were, or what length of time they covered.

Slightly more recently, the CDC’s 2011 National Health Statistics report found that 36% of women and 44% of men reported engaging in anal sex, using the cohort group of men and women ages 25-44. But again, this only tells us about one specific act, unless participants were lumping rimming under the general “anal sex” umbrella.

Unless we get an actual study devoted to analingus analytics, we’ll never know for sure. But anecdotally, in mainstream culture, the prevalence of the act appears to be on the rise.