How David Bowie Called Out MTV for Ignoring Black Artists’ Videos in the 80s

David Bowie was known as a trailblazer in the arenas of music, pop culture, and gender perception — but did you know he strove to break down racial barriers, too?

Bowie did his part to fight for more representation of black artists on MTV in the 80s, as spotted by Twitter and Tech Insider.

In an interview reportedly published by Rolling Stone in 1982, Bowie grilled MTV VJ Mark Goodman about the network’s lack of inclusivity.

Here’s the transcript, as posted by Twitter user @honeynoir.

We’re not sure what’s more preposterous — the fact that a supposedly progressive channel was still nervous about showing black artists as late as 1983 or Goodman’s response that people in the Midwest would be “scared to death” of “a string of black faces or black music.”

This was a risky move for Bowie — to publicly embarrass MTV could have meant less air time for his own videos. But he didn’t seem to care.

Obviously the battle for inclusivity in pop culture still isn’t over and plenty of black artists had to fight much harder than Bowie did. But it’s inspiring to see that at least one white artist was willing to use his platform to talk sense to people in power. Bowie will be missed.


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