Katy Perry and a Moonman in 2010. She's among the nominees for this year's 'Best Video with a Message' award. Photo: PA

MTV‘s annual Video Music Awards — the coveted Moonman presentations — are now in their 28th year, set to air Sunday, August 28. Among the network’s most popular features — and still focused on music videos, of all things — the VMAs have also become a showcase of outrageous celebrity behavior, such as Kanye West’s rude intrusion during Taylor Swift’s speech, and the now-legendary Madonna-Britney kiss. These displays/publicity stunts tend to spur more post-show buzz than the actual award winners.

This year, MTV’s aiming to generate a different sort of post-VMA buzz, one that doesn’t rely on allegedly unplanned bad manners. The network last week announced the addition of a new award category, “Best Video With a Message,” meant to honor artists whose recent music videos featured a positive message or raised awareness of important social issues.

The category’s creation was a no-brainer, according to MTV president Stephen Friedman. “During the past year, we’ve seen a remarkable number of artists use their music to explore deeply personal experiences and issues they were passionate about to create powerful videos that resonated with and inspired millions of fans,” he said.

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