Viewers of this year’s MTV EMA’s are set to notice a new addition to its vast line-up of categories.
The 2018 ceremony will launch a new ‘Generation Change Award’ which aims to the aim to elevate and empower the fearless, original young people who are changing the world. The nominees are among a generation of young people tackling the world’s toughest problems through music, storytelling or digital media.
Five changemakers from around the globe, all under the age of 26, are nominated for the award, which will be presented during the 2018 MTV EMA red carpet pre-show in Bilbao, Spain on November 4th at 8pm on MTV.
The 2018 MTV EMA Generation Change Award nominees include:
Sonita Alizadeh — 21 years old, Afghanistan — #MTVEMA #GenerationEndChildMarriage
Sonita uses her rap lyrics and powerful voice to help end child marriage, support girls’ rights to choose their destiny and inspire people everywhere to dream bigger dreams.
Mohamad Aljounde — 17 years old, Lebanon — #MTVEMA #GenerationRefugeeRights
An advocate for child rights, Mohamad built a school in a refugee camp in Lebanon to give children access to an education, all while using the power of storytelling to shine a light on their realities in the wake of an ongoing war.
Ellen Jones — 20 years old, UK — #MTVEMA #GenerationInclusion
An activist and content creator who focuses on LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, disability rights and feminist issues, using digital media to effect change.
Xiuhtezcatl “X” Martinez — 18 years old, USA — #MTVEMA #GenerationEarthGuardians
A climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement.
Hauwa Ojeifo — 26 years old, Nigeria — #MTVEMA #GenerationSafe
A bold changemaker who founded a movement of love, hope and support to give mental health a voice in Nigeria.
Ellen Jones was recently named Stonewall’s Young Campaigner of The Year after running successful campaigns tackling LGBTQ+ inequality in schools and online. Jones has also launched an online LGBTQ+ book club and an educational series called ‘Queeries’, where her and a guest tackle viewer-submitted questions.
Ahead of Sunday’s EMAs, Ellen told us about using her online platform for good: “Using social media to affect positive change is often criticised, but the reality is social media does have the power to affect positive change and young activists are demonstrating that through their work every day.
The cynical part of me wonders if the disapproval of digital activism is so discouraged because it works and is empowering young people in new ways that those in power do not have a total monopoly over.
“If digital activism were no threat to the status quo, no one would be so enraged by it.”
Talking about the continued need for fighting for LGBTQ+ inequality, Ellen said: “We cannot afford to be complacent about the violence that is committed against LGBTQ+ people around the world.
Although rights for some people have been won, the issues faced by the community are vast, and rights can be taken away just as easily as they can be given.
“Whether it’s raising a profile on Instagram or launching a campaign…or joining a local charity, there are so many ways to get involved and it’s all enough, it’s all something, and it can all make a difference.”