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Move over, Miley: YouTubers are all over the VMAs

Trans and genderqueer YouTubers helped close the night.


Rae Votta


Posted on Aug 31, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 1:43 am CDT

MTV’s Video Music Awards may celebrate the biggest names in music entertainment, but the non-musical video stars of today are beginning to make their presence known at the annual event.

The biggest splash for YouTubers in last night’s main show came at the close of the evening. Miley Cyrus’s performance was preceded by a lineup of transgender and genderqueer youth, including digital celebs like Gigi Gorgeous and Brendan Jordan, who spoke about the importance of all the “sticky, young, impressionable minds of our future” watching Cyrus’ “Happy Hippie squad” on TV.

Some YouTubers who appeared throughout the night already have formal relationships with MTV, like Laci Green, who hosts Braless on YouTube for the network and showed up on the red carpet to talk about safe sex with VJ Sway and livetweeted from inside the event.

Todrick Hall was also on deck, performing at the preshow and prominently featuring in promos for MTV’s Monday night programming block. His show, TODRICK , a docuseries that looks at the behind-the-scenes process of his YouTube videos and life, will premiere Sept. 31.

Other YouTube talent like Amanda Steele and Mahogany Lox appeared on screen as part of brand deals with sponsors like Clean & Clear and Cover Girl. YouTuber Connor Franta played host on the all-access livestream, while stars like Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley walked the red carpet and attended but didn’t play a part in the show’s proceedings. 

While other teen-centric events like Fox’s Teen Choice Awards have found ways to put YouTubers and Vine stars front and center in their celebrations, the VMAs have yet to fully incorporate digital celebs into the fabric of the show, unless they’re complete crossover breakout successes like Tori Kelly or the archetypical YouTube-to-mainstream success story Justin Bieber. None of the YouTubers with roots on the vlogging side of the platform are finding their way to the main stage yet, unless they’ve got the host on their side, but we think it won’t be long before the Oakleys and Frantas of the world jump to the TV broadcast instead of just the Web and carpet.

Screengrab via gogreen18/Twitter

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*First Published: Aug 31, 2015, 12:58 pm CDT