Move over VMAs, here’s our top picks for best videos of the year (so far)

Well the nominations for the VMAs are out, and as usual, they’re pretty sub par. Instead of simply reporting or criticising it, we’ve decided to list some of our own choices below. So here they are, our picks for the 2015 Howl & Echoes Video Music Awards!

Arca – Thievery  

Stand aside Anaconda. Look, I completely understand that Nicki’s sordid lyrics and jiggly behind completely ‘broke the internet’ (fuck I hate that phrase). But Arca and Jesse Kanda’s collaboration on the clip for Thievery with its naked, ungendered dancer plugs into the decline of heteronormativity in a way that Nicki never could. By animating this bruised, hypersexualised figure twerking, Kanda presents the body as kind of pornogrified canvas. Admit it, it’s true. Ass-clapping isn’t really hairless, HD and benign. Its sex, and sex is ugly and primal (and also everything).

FKA Twigs – Glass & Patron

Twiggsy. Oh how I love you. This one really did it for me. Especially the beginning where Twigs scratches her acrylics over her pregnant belly, and then proceeds to pull streams of fluorescent laden-with-dancers silk from her nether regions. It gives new meaning to artistic birth, by means of the female body. We all know the female body needs to be reimaged and repurposed by women (not men), and that is what Twigs did. Special mention goes to the absolutely flawless voguing with the on-fleek ballroom queen’s themselves, Alex Mugler and Javier Ninja lending their FIAH.

Kelela – A Message

Kelela is amazing, and this clip is no exception. For most of the clip, Kelela stands in the spotlight like an obsidian statue. The light glides off her collarbones and chest like it would off black-stone. The whole thing is a beautiful and proud presentation of her body and race. About halfway through, a purple ghost-light is thrown on her figure as she dances. Suddenly, a cloak of cartoon-green enwraps her and transforms her into an anime character. Her body splits and collapses in on itself, in a painted rendition of “rejection and amputation”. It is an art piece of galactic proportions.

Zebra Katz x Leila – You Tell Em

I don’t think that enough people know about Zebra Katz. Basically, Ojay Morgan is part of the queer hip hop artists that emerged in the 2010s (Le1f, Mykki Blanco, House of Ladosha etc.). As Zebra Katz he describes himself as “the dark rapper, the dark villain, the dark lord of the fashion world”. I feel like he should have been given the whole cast of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. He would have had them writhing in asymmetric gear to his hard hitting minimalist rap. In the clip for You Tell Em, he douses old TVs and screens with a flamethrower, as stoic jacket-wearing models stand around him. The piece screams darkwave multimedia artist (scary…I know).

GENER8ION + M.I.A. – The New International Sound Part II

M.I.A. is back. This clip consists mostly of outtakes from Dragon Girls, a documentary about three young females who learn Kung Fu at a school, which homes over 20,000 students. IT captures the exhaustion and pain experienced when trying to achieve physical and mental perfection. The visual language of the clip stands as a powerful metaphor for the modern struggle. Individuals must distinguish themselves from an ever-growing and homogeneous mass. Can we though? M.I.A. obviously can.