1983 SPECIAL REPORT: "MTV DISCRIMINATES AGAINST BLACK ARTIST"
Uploader: Hezakya Newz & Films
Original upload date: Tue, 19 Mar 2019 00:00:00 GMT
Archive date: Tue, 07 Dec 2021 12:16:57 GMT
Donate To The Channel: https://cash.me/$hezakyanewz# https://www.paypal.me/hezakyanewz PATREON: https://www.patreon.com/Hezakyanewz When MTV debuted on Aug. 1, 1981, at least one black face onShow more
the network was a mainstay. It belonged to J.J. Jackson, the sole African American on MTV's roster of video jockeys, or VJs as they became known. Despite Jackson’s presence on MTV through 1986, the network faced allegations of racism for giving scant airtime to videos featuring people of color. MTV executives have denied that racism was at the root of the network’s “blackout,” saying that black artists received little airplay because their music didn’t fit the channel’s rock-based format. “MTV was originally designed to be a rock music channel,” said Buzz Brindle, MTV’s former director of music programming, to Jet magazine in 2006. “It was difficult for MTV to find African American artists whose music fit the channel’s format that leaned toward rock at the outset.” With so few black rockers, adding African Americans to MTV’s roster proved difficult, according to the network’s co-founder Les Garland, whom Jet also interviewed. “We had nothing to pick from,” Garland explained. “Fifty percent of my time was spent in the early days of MTV convincing artists to make music videos and convincing record labels to put up money to make those videos…” One artist needed no convincing. He’d even made a video for “Don't Stop ’Til You Get Enough,” a cut from his 1979 album Off the Wall. But when approached by Michael Jackson’s record label, would MTV agree to play his music videos? It took major prodding to get MTV to play “Billie Jean,” the second track from Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller. Released Jan. 2, 1983, the single would go on to top the Billboard 100 chart for seven weeks, but Walter Yetnikoff, president of CBS Records Group, reportedly had to threaten to remove all other CBS videos from MTV before the network agreed to air the video for “Billie Jean.” Garland denied such a confrontation occurred, telling Jet that the network began playing the video on its own. “There was never any hesitation. No fret,” he said. Based on his account, MTV aired the video the same day that executives screened it. However “Billie Jean” ended up on the network, there’s little doubt that it changed the course of MTV. The first video by a black artist to receive heavy rotation on the network, “Billie Jean” opened up the door for other artists of color to be featured on MTV. “Billie Jean” also paved the way for Michael Jackson to star in the 14-minute music video “Thriller,” the most expensive music video ever made at the time. “Thriller” debuted Dec. 2, 1983. It proved so popular that it was released as a home video that went on to become a record-breaking bestseller.