If you were born before the early 2000s, surely you remember when the “M” in MTV actually stood for music. Long before the days of glamorizing plain, uneducated teenaged parents – MTV used to be the destination for music. Both online and on the air, MTV once was the ultimate source for music and music videos. Taking it a step further, they were also responsible for the biggest night in entertainment – The Video Music Awards. Over the past 36 years, the VMAs have hosted some of music’s most controversial, entertaining, and most-talked about moments. Now, it seems the once groundbreaking award show has fallen victim to the same fate like the entire network – out of touch, and out of tune.
The 2020 VMAs were not terrible because of the required socially distanced performances or red carpet. The VMAs were not horrible because they were not able to enlist A-List, or relevant, talent to appear. The VMAs were not horrible because the show was host-less, as it has been in the past. The 2020 VMAs were horrible because they do not reflect the current status of the music industry.
DaBaby & The Jabbawockeez on the socially distanced Red Carpet
Out Of Touch. Out of Time.
With Hip-Hop and Black issues dominating the airwaves, charts, and social media feeds it’s still not surprising the network chose not to recognize Black artists. Thanks to TikTok, Black artists including Lil’ Baby, Roddy Ricch, Lizzo, and Saweetie (to name a few) have all been inescapable the past year. Seemingly MTV chose to award Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby as the default winners, to smooth things over. DaBaby’s mush-mouthed attempt at making a statement about police brutality fell flat, and having Keke Palmer quickly glancing over current political issues as the host of the VMAs seemed like an afterthought.
The full list of winners reflects label politics, rather than quality and general reception by the public. This is nothing new, though. Britney Spears’ “Toxic” music video lost to Beyonce. The VMAs often don’t get it right, but this year they didn’t even bother to get the right nominees.
From the fake crowd tracks to some of the uninspired sets, it all seems like a haphazard attempt to put on a show unable to live up to past hype. It is clear that the Video Music Awards of yesteryear will never return. Though there were redeeming moments, MTV threw their reputation in the trash long ago, and have no desire to redeem themselves.