A HISTORY OF MUSIC VIDEO CONTROVERSY
At this point if you’ve been following us, you’ll have noticed we love music videos.
MTV was an essential part of growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. And because I love trivia so much the following post is dedicated to a history of music video controversy.
First in the 80’s
The first video to be banned by MTV was Queen's 1982 hit "Body Language". it was deemed unsuitable for a television audience However, the channel did air Olivia Newton-John's 1981 video for the hit song "Physical", which lavished camera time on male models working out in string bikinis, mtv ended the clip before the overt homosexual "reveal" ending.
( Not sure where I found this bit of information) but apparently MTV did air the video, albeit in a heavily edited form. Laura Branigan initially protested an MTV request to edit her "Self Control" video in 1984, she relented when the network refused to air the William Friedkin-directed clip, featuring the singer lured through an increasingly debauched, if increasingly stylized, series of nightclubs by a masked man who ultimately takes her to bed. and who can forget Cher In 1989, "If I Could Turn Back Time" video - it was restricted to late-night broadcasts on MTV. Mötley Crüe's video for "Girls, Girls, Girls" was banned by MTV for having completely nude women dancing around the members of the band in a strip club.
Also in the 1980s, the British show I also watched religiously, Top of the Pops was censorious in its approach to video content, so some acts made videos that they knew would be censored, using the resulting public controversy to promote their release. Example, Frankie Goes to Hollywood with "Relax", directed by Bernard Rose.
Then in the 1990s.
In 1991, the dance segment of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" was cut because it showed Michael Jackson inappropriately touching himself. His most controversial video, "They Don't Care About Us" was banned pretty much everywhere because of the alleged anti-Semitic message.
Madonna, the artist most associated with censorship since "Lucky Star", got worse over time with videos such as "Like a Virgin",: "Papa Don't Preach". and "Like a Prayer" . I think that’s when Pepsi dropped her too. But in 1990, Madonna's "Justify My Love" was banned by MTV in the U.S due to its depiction of sadomasochism, cross-dressing, and some kind of hotel orgy, ( with the hottest male model alive, Tony Ward).
One of my favourite bands The Prodigy's 1997 video for "Smack My Bitch Up" was also banned, although in my opinion that is just one of the best videos ever made, it went on to win Best Dance Video and Best Breakthrough Video later that year.
Then in the 2000
I was living in Italy at the time and I remember when in 2002, the video for "All the Things She Said" by Russian duo t.A.T.u. caused controversy as it featured young girls, Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova, making out.. Capitalizing on the controversy, the kiss was choreographed into their live performances.
In 2004, Maroon 5's video for "This Love" generated controversy due to intimate scenes between Adam Levine and his then-girlfriend. Eminem's video for "Just Lose It" caused controversy over its parody of Michael Jackson's 2005 child molestation trial, plastic surgery, and hair catching fire. The video was banned from BET, and Jackson spoke out against the video, calling it "inappropriate and disrespectful to me, my children, my family and the community at large." Poor guy didn’t know then that would be the least of his problems.
In 2008, Justice's video for their song "Stress" was boycotted by several major music television channels due to allegations of racism and violence; the video depicts youths committing various crimes throughout the streets of Paris, with the youths mainly being of North African descent.
Rihanna's video "S&M", which features the singer whipping a tied-up man, taking hostages and indulging in a lesbian kiss, was banned in 11 countries and was flagged as inappropriate for viewers that are under 18 on YouTube.
Born Free by M.I. A -Romain Gavras courted controversy again with the video for 'Born Free.' At nine minutes long, the extremely graphic video depicts a genocidal nightmare in which redheads are rounded up, tortured, and shot. It received both praise and criticism when it came out in 2010, and most websites and networks refused to air it. It was yanked from YouTube the day after it's release, before being reinstated a couple of weeks later.
Interested? Here’s read more.