Sex and Data at the BET Awards

Every awards season as of late ushers in a conversation about the lack of diversity among both nominees and winners. This year, we've pulled thousands of data points from a variety of platforms to see what the numbers had to say, and have presented it in a data visualization below.


For BET Best New Artist

The BET awards group many of their award categories by sex, so we looked at one of the few categories open to both men and women: Best New Artist. Since its inception, 34% of BET's Best New Artist nominees have been women. Similarily, 19% of the category's winners have been women. For two years (2004 and 2012) there were no female nominees for the category.

Here, you can toggle between wins and nominations. Toggling between the sexes in the pie chart will also be reflected in the line graph to give you a sense of the discrepancy over time. Under the line graph you'll see the list of nominations for each year. When you toggle the pie chart, the discrepancy will also be highlighted here.

Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Winner Nelly Alicia Keys 50 Cent Kanye West John Legend Chris Brown Jennifer Hudson The-Dream Keri Hilson
Nominations India Arie Ashanti Floetry Chingy Clara Chamillionaire Corinne Bailey Rae Estelle Kid Cudi
Lil' Bow Wow B2K Heather Hedley Anthony Hamilton Fantasia Ne-Yo Gnarls Barkley Florida Ryan Leslie
Musiq Soulchild Craig David Sean Paul Ruben Studdard The Game Rihanna Lupe Fiasco Chrisette Michelle M.I.A
Jill Scott Tweet Justin Timberlake Pharrell Williams Omarion Paul Wall Mims Soulja Boy Jazmine Sullivan
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Winner Nicki Minaj Wiz Khalifa Big Sean Kendrick Lamar August Alsina Sam Smith Bryson Tiller Chance the Rapper TBD
Nominations Justin Bieber J.Cole ASAP Rocky Joey Badass Ariana Grande Dej Loaf Alessia Cara 21 Savage GoldLink
Melanie Fiona Bruno Mars Diggy Azealia Banks Rich Homie Quan Fetty Wap Andra Day Cardi B Daniel Caesar
Wale Miguel Future Trinidad James ScHoolboy Q Bobby Shmurda Kehlani Khalid SZA
Young Money Willow Smith Meek Mill The Weekend Mack Wilds Rae Sremmurd Tory Lanez Young MA H.E.R
Tinashe A Boogie wit da Hoodie


In the lead up to this year's BET Awards, we sought to develop an objective way of ranking the nominees up for Best New Artist. We decided to pull data from Instagram and Spotify given that they are the largest social and streaming platforms in their respective categories. We also factored in critic and listener reviews in our visualization.


Popularity Index/Followers

This graph compares this year's nominees in terms of their Spotify popularity index and followers.


Follower/Average Likes per Post

This graph compares this year's nominees in terms of their Instagram followers and average likes per post.


From Critics and Listeners

This information was pulled from, an aggregator of both critical and listener reviews.

Subjectivity is, to varying degrees, inherent to each music awards show. But the numbers seem to make a compelling case for SZA as being, if not the best new artist, certainly the most culturally relevant new artist among this year's nominees

These metrics were pulled and analyzed directly from BET, Instagram, Spotify, and albumoftheyear. These sources were chosen based on their social relevance and the objective metrics they provide.

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