MTV nominated an anti-Dakota Access Pipeline music video for an award celebrating last year’s environmentalist-led movement to scuttle the multi-billion dollar oil project.
Taboo, a member of the Black-Eyed Peas, created the video alongside activist Shailene Woodley and the Magnificent Seven, a group of musicians from various American Indian tribes. MTV nominated
“Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” for MTV’s “Best Fight Against the System” VMA.
“This is a massive opportunity to help bring the importance of protecting the environment and the lives our Indigenous brothers and sisters to tens of millions of people!” reads a press statement on the People’s Climate Music (PCM) website. PCM is part of a nonprofit group called the Hip Hop Caucus, which helped produce the video.
The award used to be titled “Best Video With a Social Message,” but disappeared in 2015 before reappearing in 2016 under the new, more anarchistic bent. MTV says the award was changed to better reflect millennials’ passion for social justice issues.
“The addition of the ‘Best Fight Against the System’ category was added to the 2017 MTV VMAs to continue reflecting the audience’s passion and activism around social justice issues such as environmental justice, immigration, LGBTQ equality, and racial justice,” an MTV spokesperson told reporters in July.
Environmentalists and American Indian tribes in the West made defeating the so-called DAPL project a core mission throughout 2016. The 1,200-mile-long project transports Bakken oil from the Dakotas to parts of Illinois.
Activists believed the pipeline’s construction would trample on tribal lands and potentially poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe. They worked for months demonstrating against the $3.8 billion pipeline, but to no avail.
The Army Corps of Engineers rejected the previously approved pipeline in December during former President Barack Obama’s final month in office. The Corps argued that the route needed further environmental reviews and assessments before construction could proceed.
However, President Donald Trump eventually overturned his predecessor’s memo, essentially clearing the way for the project to resume unimpeded. Activists have changed tactics slightly, shifting from street protests to legal fights.
The deadline for people to vote on the award is Aug. 17.
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