Bye, MTV VMAs, It’s Been Real

The Video Music Awards are now, well, blah

Another year, another MTV Video Music Awards ceremony in-the-books. For years, the VMAs helped to ease the pain of summer’s end and the start of the new school year. Now, the ceremony is, well, blah.

Last night’s ceremony did have its bright spots. Rihanna and Beyoncé brought their A-games, delivering visually and musically entertaining performances. It’s clear, however, that MTV is increasingly focused on pomp, flash and stirring the pot, not so much the music.

The most disappointing part of the 2016 VMAs was the lack of musical diversity in the live performances. Hip-hop and dance are hot so their inclusion was a give-in. But why not have a rock nominee perform instead of featuring Rhianna numerous times? Or what about an alternative act? Oh wait, that’s not possible because, while alternative music videos still exist, the VMAs no longer host an alternative category. When MTV creates and retires awards based on what is hot and what is not, the ceremony’s live-show and credibility suffers.

While not disappointing, or maybe it was, the most troublesome segment of the VMAs was Kanye’s five minutes of rambling. Props to Mr. West for continually bringing racial, economic and social issues to the podium, even if it sometimes comes across as brazen, self-centered and discombobulated, but at least he’s trying. The problem was the feeling that an MTV exec was backstage secretly hoping Kanye would say something controversial. Whether aimed at T-Swift, tech execs or Trump, an eyebrow-raising statement held the potential to facilitate additional media coverage and boost ratings. Was this the actual plan? We can’t know for sure and hopefully it was not.

Also, what’s the deal with premiering music videos at the VMAs? Why not have the artist or band perform the new track live? Or better yet, why not refrain from focusing solely on star performers and play a new vid from the winner of the Best New Artist award. Show a new act some love on one of the music industry’s biggest stages.

Lastly, much of ceremony was distracting and felt forced. From Key & Peele and the awkward stage to Britney’s Vegas-influenced performance and the numerous commentators, such as DJ Khaled, the show felt like a hodgepodge designed to overload the senses. It was as if the game plan was: throw a bunch of stars on stage and flash some lights so millenials will post to social media how the show was ‘fire’ or ‘slayed.’

Not to say the artists the VMAs recognized aren’t talented. We all know they are. The show just didn’t do them all justice.

So, sorry, VMAs, I’ll see you around. It’s not you, it’s me.

Not really. It’s you.


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