In a list of painfully boring nominations, the 2017 MTV VMAs managed to get one thing right: Young M.A, the lesbian rapper famous for her viral 2016 hit, "OOOUUU," was recognized in the "Best New Artist" category alongside Khalid, SZA and Julia Michaels, among others.
As the first and only lesbian rapper to achieve a top 20 spot on the Billboard 100, M.A's breakout single is a monumental feat for the LGBTQ community. "I ain't going to lie, every now and then I say something like, 'I'm the first dyke rapper to do it,'" she told BET, but M.A doesn't want her work defined by sexuality. "I try not to think about the label thing as much, man, because I just genuinely love music," she said. "We should all just be people at the end of the day [...] There shouldn't be no labels behind everything."
Lifted off M.A's album Herstory, the New York emcee dives deep into sexually charged queer lyrics on "OOOUUU," most notably with the one-liner, "You call her Stephanie? I call her Headphanie." It's in these moments, the brash rapper managed to break into mainstream black hip-hop, spitting verses even straight men could rap along with. But that's not say M.A. shies away from being openly queer. "Dyke bitches talking out they jaw," she says at one point, proudly flaunting her sexuality and reclaiming the word, "Dyke."
If you're interested in the full list of nominations, which reads like an expected lineup of candidates paid for by major labels, click here. But, more importantly, revisit Young M.A's "OOOUUU," below.