After news of his death sent ripples across the world, David Bowie has been reminding people – from the grave – why he is arguably one of the greatest artists and music icons the world has ever known.
Not only did the Brixton-born singer sell over 150million albums, he was a unique artist who refused to be defined by genre – continually changing his sound and look. More surprisingly to most people is a video of an MTV interview that the 69-year-old did back in 1983. In it, Bowie – born David Jones – criticises MTV for not playing videos by Black artists.
“It occurred to me, having watched MTV for the last few months, that it’s a solid enterprise and its got a lot going for it. I’m just floored by the fact that there is so few black artist featured on it. Why is that?”, Bowie asked Mark Goodman of MTV.
Goodman later response by citing that “We [MTV] have to think about what playing music like Prince, which we are playing or a string of other black faces”, to which Bowie says, “That’s very interesting. Isn’t that interesting?”.
“We [MTV] have to play music that we think an entire country would like”, Goodman added.
The video has sparked a debate that has opened yet another fresh can of worms with allegations of MTV being “institutionally racist for years”.
Commenting on the resurfaced video, American rapper and poet Brother Dash [Dasham Brookins] said, “What gets lost on some people is that MTV is basically admitting to institutionalized racism. Black people have complained about it, written about it, shouted about it, for centuries often falling on deaf ears claiming we’re “playing the race card”.
“Here you have it from the horses [sic] mouth. We didn’t want to offend racist white people. We wanted to appease them and care about THAT more than anything else”, Dash continued.
Bowie died on Sunday 10 January 2016 after a “courageous 18-month battle with cancer”, his family revealed on Monday 11 January 2016. Flowers piled up on the same night at a shrine created in Brixton, south London where hundreds of fans held a party to celebrate his life outside Ritzy cinema.
The music icon has been hailed for his courage at speaking up against what many deem “racist corporations”. Bowie, the epitome of a white male – European, wealthy, blonde, blue-eyed – used his platform on MTV to challenge race distinction in music way back in 1983. He has been receiving praise for his staunch quest for justice for the black community, ever since.
Bowie was mourned by 60-year-old wife Iman Abdulmajid and their daughter Alexandria, 15. Duncan Jones, his son with first wife Angie, said he was “very sorry and sad”.
Speaking on the MTV interview, Dash said about Bowie, “You want to leave this planet having contributed SOMETHING to make it better than when you came into it. It can be a word, a song, a book, a child you raised, a person who could do nothing to help you but you helped them, or it can be an entire legacy like this man. The best way to remember the dead is to remember their life. Will anyone remember you? #somethingtoponder”.
TNT Entertainment Yasin Chinembiri