A Clip Of David Bowie Calling Out MTV For Not Playing African-American Artists Has Gone Viral
"It occurred to me, having watched MTV over the last few months, it's a solid enterprise and it's got a lot going for it," Bowie said, picking at his pants. "I'm just floored so few Black artists feature on it. Why is that?"
Back in 1983, on the promo tour for his new album Let’s Dance, David Bowie sat down with MTV.
Dressed in a suit, his hair in a blonde cropped side-part, Bowie was meant to talk about his influences, his tour, and his past hits. But he didn’t seem particularly interested in doing any of that. Instead, the ‘Heroes’ singer wanted to call out not only the music industry, but MTV in particular, for consistently overlooking artists from diverse backgrounds.
“It occurred to me, having watched MTV over the last few months, it’s a solid enterprise and it’s got a lot going for it,” Bowie said, picking at his pants.
“I’m just floored so few Black artists feature on it. Why is that?”
The host, sounding a bit flummoxed, shot back that the station was “trying to move” in that direction. But Bowie kept going.
“The only few Black artists that one does see are on at about two thirty in the morning. Very few are featured predominantly during the day.”
Of course, we should always be suspicious of any celebrity limiting their activism to mere words, and these days we rightfully demand that the rich open their wallets to help with social causes. But Bowie did have at least something to lose when confronting MTV — back in 1983, losing the support of the TV station had a real impact on sales and cultural heft.
Watch the David Bowie clip that has gone viral below:
thinking about this 1983 interview where David Bowie point blank period asks MTV why they don’t play Black artists pic.twitter.com/H36PQhqrNA
— lauren milici (@motelsiren) June 11, 2020
And then watch the entire interview on YouTube here: