In our 1983 David Bowie interview, he criticizes MTV for not playing enough music videos by black artists. https://t.co/G2ePJFcaRN
— MTV News (@MTVNews) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was a controversial artist — but the reaction to his passing by fans all across the globe validated his status as a genre-bending legend in the music world.
In the early 1980s — black artist didn’t get much shine on MTV — and Bowie was front and center — heavily criticizing the media company for the neglect.
During this MTV interview from 1983 — Bowie confronted MTV and VJ Mark Goodman about discrimination against black artists:
David Bowie: “Why are there practically no blacks on the network?”
Mark Goodman: “We seem to be doing music that fits into what we want to play on MTV. The company is thinking in terms of narrowcasting.”
David Bowie: “There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I’m surprised aren’t being used on MTV.”
Mark Goodman: “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.”
David Bowie: “Don’t you think it’s a frightening predicament to be in?”
Mark Goodman: “Yeah, but no less so here than in radio.”
David Bowie: “Don’t say, ‘Well, it’s not me, it’s them.’ 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?”
Bowie was a trend-setter then — even risking is own banishment for black artist.