Yes, another piece about how the ‘M’ in MTV should not stand for ‘music’ anymore, and should instead stand for ‘millennial.’ But the fact that so many people are writing on this shows that it is an issue.
The MTV VMA’s are probably the one time of the year that MTV actually attempts to showcase music. Sometimes they succeed in doing so, but other times, it just feels like a pop award show, with the music coming in second to the scandalous events sure to take place that evening.
I have had less and less interest in watching the VMA’s in the past few years, but this year I decided; why not?
A lot did go right at the VMA’s. Beyoncé took over the night, but unfortunately, right before Britney, causing everyone to forget that this was her first VMA performance since what we refer to as “2007 Britney.” My fave Teyana Taylor, only 8 months postpartum, revealed that she has a body of a greek goddess in Kanye’s newest video. Jimmy Fallon, always one to stay current, gave us the Ryan Lochte impersonation we’ve been waiting for. Drake professed his undying love for Rihanna and her reaction was a quick dab.
Although not the most eventful VMA’s, they were entertaining nonetheless. But what about the music? It has been a week since the show and I honestly couldn’t remember who took home best video before a quick google search, although I was almost certain it was Beyoncé.
The most shocking and clear sign that music is no longer MTV’s priority, even for the VMA’s was that there was almost zero mention of the two greats we’ve lost this year in the music industry: David Bowie and Prince. Both of them had been nominated for numerous VMA’s throughout their careers. Both have played a significant role in popularizing the music video art form. Hell, Bowie was one of the first recipients of the Video Vanguard Award in 1984. Although he was posthumously nominated for a couple of awards this year, I still don’t think that was enough respect given to such an influential artists.
So why the snubs? Maybe this is further proof that MTV is focusing on catering solely towards the future and really is now for millennials. After all, from experience with my generation, not too many people born in the 1990’s or later would classify Prince of Bowie as one of their favourite artists. They could have cut one of Rihanna’s performances to pay tribute to our fallen legends, but would that have been fair for Rihanna? Bowie had his night in 1984 and he wasn’t even there (see video below). They could have told Beyoncé to chill and not perform her whole tour, but I feel like even Prince wanted to see those 16 minutes of her slaying the stage. Maybe this was MTV not letting the past take away from the present, and let’s be honest, present day music does, for some reason, favour Kim Kardashian more than legends like Prince.
I admit, neither Prince nor Bowie made as big as an impact on music videos as Michael Jackson, so I did not expect a whole ceremony dedicated to them. I didn’t even expect a full memorial or musical number. All I really wanted was for someone to say the words “Rest in peace David Bowie” or “Rest in peace Prince,” as an acknowledgment of the hard work and boundaries these artists have broken in the music industry.
It’s okay though, because no one really watches MTV the other 364 days of the year anyways. And we know that the Grammy’s next year will give Prince the justice he deserves.