If you’re one of MTV’s 1.2 million follows on Instagram or you don’t live under
a rock the Rock’s pile of mediocre movies on DVD, you already know that this year’s MTV Video Music Awards will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. MTV oh so cleverly posted eight pictures of the coveted Moonman award traveling from LAX Airport to the Barclays Center in one day, building a massive amount of buzz and hype for the location of the award show. The Moonman made cameos at JFK airport, on line to grab a cab, at the Rockefeller Center Subway station, on the Brooklyn Bridge, and in front of Not Ray’s Pizza Building with the side of Cern One’s “Comandante Biggie” mural (see below). This marks the first major annual award show to be held in the borough.
The VMA’s have been hosted in four different cities in the US since it inception in 1984: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas. But primarily, it’s shifted between Los Angeles and Manhattan, New York, except for 1986, where the award show ceremony was held in both New York and Los Angeles. It’s understandable that the award show would play towards two of the bigger music scenes in the country, but it took 29 years and a brand spankin’ new stadium that HOV partially built for it to show love to the younger, cooler brother to Manhattan. I understand that you have to deal with security, infrastructure, celebrity preferences, itineraries, and a million other factor, but maybe we should consider the impact of the VMA’s and what they could mean for the host city to put things into perspective.
I take the VMA’s to be a celebration of musical talent and accomplishments that took place within a year. But it’s also an opportunity for artists to “catch up” with each other, arrange collaborations, and ultimately compare themselves to each other. Yes, the venue and award show should reflect the magnitude of greatness being celebrated, but maybe we’ve become too lost in the glitz and glamour of artists worshiped as celebrities. As a result, we have hours of red carpet gawking and interviews instead of new categories for awards to foster new talent, or creative performances by artists to pay homage to the greats before them. Besides the artists, you have millions of viewers in their homes watching the show and either agreeing or disagreeing with the show format and results. However, unfortunately the music industry cares more about padding its retirement plan than getting to the essence of an award show that should push the boundaries for the following year.
This is why Brooklyn playing host to the VMA’s this year is so important. It sets a precedent that a less than gaudy part of the country where so many icons were born and raised could get its recognition for its contribution to music, despite having a massive arena.It’s encouraging to see the locals and even more notable figures in music appreciate the venue choice…
• “To me, all good things about music and culture revolve around the amazing borough of Brooklyn. So for MTV to honor that and bring the pinnacle of pop culture here… it speaks volumes. I can’t wait.” (Mick, Celebrity DJ)
• “It’s dope that the VMA’s are coming to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is really the capital of New York, new stadium, new energy and a new face of New York City rap. Powderrrr to the people.” (Troy Ave a/k/a Harry Powder, Rapper)
• “MTV Awards in Brooklyn, NY? Who would’ve ever thought? Brooklyn keeps on taking shit man! Really though!” (Maffew Ragazino, Rapper)
• “I think it’s a smart, good move for them to move to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center. The stadium looks amazing and is very well laid out. The music scene is still happening more in BK than any other part of NYC so it’s a great fit for them to move the awards show over.”
Maybe MTV will learn its lesson on spreading love after this year. Chicago? New Orleans? We can only hope.
The MTV VMA’s will air live on Sunday, August 25th. No host has been announced as of yet.
Sidenote, I’ve heard the arguments as to why MTV airs valueless reality shows over music videos. Well maybe MTV could take a revenue hit just for one year so they could reestablish themselves as the ultimate music tastemaker and take back the influencing powers in the music industry. However, there’s a very low likely hood this will happen, especially with the dominance of YouTube coupled with the stubbornness of major network executives.
*Take a look at the Moonman’s journey from LAX to the Barclay’s Center. Refer to the text that accompanied each image on MTV’s Instagram account, in italics below each image.