The Time David Bowie Called Out MTV for Ignoring Black Artists
From his taste in books to his predictions about the internet, David Bowie's impact went far beyond his music—and continues to be relevant today. Case in point: A newly unearthed clip of the artist calling out racism in the music industry is making the rounds.
This video below, shared by writer Lauren Milici on Twitter, shows Bowie questioning MTV's programming during a 1983 interview with MTV News.
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
"I'm floored by the fact that there are so few Black artists featured on [MTV]," he says to interviewer Mark Goodman. "Why is that?" After a minute of back-and-forth, Goodman eventually admits that playing mostly white artists helps MTV appease certain parts of the country, including "some town in the Midwest that would be scared to death by Prince."
In the longer version of the video, Bowie responds to this by bringing up the music industry's obligation to feature more diverse talent and the importance of keeping young Black viewers in mind. The segment ends with Bowie telling Goodman "I understand your point of view," while refusing to agree with him. You can watch the extended clip below.
David Bowie advocated for Black artists throughout his career, going so far as calling Nina Simone every night for a month to offer his support. Here are more facts about David Bowie you might not have known.