Among the tributes to David Bowie being shared online today is a reminder of the moment the star publicly criticised MTV for refusing to play videos by black artists.
Confronting station VJ Mark Goodman at the end of an interview to promote his 1983 hit ‘Let’s Dance’, Bowie asked why there were “practically no” black artists on the recently launched channel.
“There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I’m surprised aren’t being used on MTV,” he pointed out.
Goodman replied: “We have to try and do what we think not only New York and Los Angeles will appreciate, but also Poughkeepsie or the Midwest. Pick some town in the Midwest which would be scared to death by… a string of other black faces, or black music. We have to play music we think an entire country is going to like, and certainly we’re a rock and roll station.”
Bowie responded: “Don’t you think it’s a frightening predicament to be in?”
Told by Goodman that the situation was the same with TV as on the radio, Bowie continued: “Is it not possible it should be a conviction of the station and of the radio stations to be fair… to make the media more integrated?”
Goodman later complained that he “felt like a pawn. I had no say over what MTV played — I wasn’t an executive. And Bowie knew what the situation was… I felt like an idiot, and I felt used, and I felt insignificant to David Bowie — which I probably was, anyway.” Boo hoo, dude.
Artists including Goldie, Carl Craig, Iggy Pop and Kanye West have been paying tribute after it was announced that Bowie died yesterday after an 18-month battle with cancer.
The German foreign office praised Bowie for helping to bring down the wall, while we discovered an old clip in which he perfectly predicts the internet’s impact on music and society.