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Best Videos with a Social Message: What issues are addressed?

A native of the storied coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, Julie Sprankles has been a lover of words her entire life. As a Southerner, she certainly has what her mama calls “the gift of gab.” When she’s not writing, Julie can be...

Musicians sound off

MTV doesn't just hand out awards for videos about hooking up, breaking up and having fun. At this year's VMAs, Beyoncé, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Miguel, Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Lion are all being recognized for videos that address important social issues. Check out the subjects they tackle!

Doing good for others

Beyoncé performed the spine-tingling ballad "I Was Here" at the United Nations in honor of World Humanitarian Day, and can we just say wow? The sweeping song is meant to inspire people to do something good for someone else — no matter how big or how small. The message is clear, powerful and effective... in our case, at least.

Marriage equality

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' stance in "Same Love," a marriage equality anthem, clearly resonates with audiences — the single has already gone platinum. Citing his four "hella gay" uncles as influences, Macklemore wrote the song in the hope that it would speak to fans and create a conversation about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the hip-hop community. "Homophobia is still rampant in the hip-hop community," he explains, "and it just gets the co-sign."

Homelessness, poverty, drug abuse, violence & more

Miguel's poignant examination of the biggest social epidemics in our country — the environment, homelessness, poverty, drug abuse, war, violence and equality — is meant to expose a nerve. He wants listeners to take a look at their own lives and answer his simple plea: "What are we doing?" Whatever it is, he implies, we should be doing more... risking more... helping more.

Bullying

Kelly Clarkson's nominated video, "People Like Us," addresses a hot-button issue regarding today's youths: bullying. The song serves as an anthem for the misunderstood, the made fun of and everyone forced to live on the social fringe. With her words, "I know what you're going through, don't let it get the best of you," Kelly offers hope through solidarity.

Gun violence

In the wake of tragedies such as Sandy Hook, the spotlight on gun violence has never been more focused. Snoop Lion's song is as relevant as it is sad — in a music genre often accused of glorifying gun culture, the rapper's voice speaks volumes. Plus, with current megastar Drake singing on the track, the song has the potential for staying power.

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