MTV VMAs: Why Was There No Prince Or David Bowie Tribute?

Viewers of the MTV Video Music Awards want to know why was there no tribute to either David Bowie or Prince. Despite a pre-VMA prediction by ETOnline that Beyonce was going to sing a tribute to Prince and possibly even Bowie. Yet, despite an overblown 15-minute performance, neither tribute materialized. How in the world did MTV forget about Bowie and Prince, two multiple VMA winners, and video music revolutionaries?

David Bowie and Prince were both significant to the early success of MTV. Bowie’s early collection of videos, in the first year of MTV, were played often on the 24-hour music station. As bands soon started to provide their own videos, there was no doubt that Bowie was the master to copy.

Then, Prince changed movies by way of the music video. The performer had his Purple Rain movie premiere on MTV. Like Bowie, Prince was a video music pioneer. While Bowie experimented with the visual look of video as an art form, Prince changed the cultural significance. When Purple Rain came out, this changed music videos as a medium. As Lionel Ritchie told veejay Mark Goodman at the Purple Rain premiere on MTV, “Now he has made a motion picture out of his album. This is an important step.” No one had done this before.

The fact Bowie fought hard to make the channel more diverse, something he did over 30 years ago, is meaningful today, when we are still talking about diversity in the arts. Who can forget Bowie arguing with MTV VJ Mark Goodman about the lack of black artists on the program?

Why else should it matter? VMA awards and multiple nominations! Between both artists, they received a whopping 22 VMA nominations. When MTV first started out, they fully utilized Bowie’s already vast collection of creative music videos until bands like Duran Duran, Tom Petty and Wham! started to create their own visions.

According to ENews, Bowie received 10 VMA nominations in the last 32 years, winning the Video Vanguard Award, as well as Best Male Video for “China Girl” in 1984. Two years later, his remake of “Dancing In the Streets” with Mick Jagger earned him the Best Overall Performance n a Video.

Prince was no slouch. He received 12 nominations between 1985 and 2006. He won for Best Choreography for the “Raspberry Beret” video in 1986, Best Stage Performance and Best Male Video in 1988 for “U Got The Look,” the sizzling duet with Sheena Easton. Then in 1992, he received the Best Dance Video for “Cream.”

While we certainly did not need a repeat of Madonna led “Purple Rain,” and thanks to Sheila E., BET smashed the Prince tribute, as TheInquisitr previously reported. There is surely precious footage that fans would love to see. Two separate video tributes would have been respectful and absolutely necessary, showcasing these two innovative musical artists that experimented with video and made the station so popular.

Again, MTV has some of the most iconic footage available. There was absolutely no excuse to not pay tribute to David Bowie and Prince. Instead, they appear to have discarded these music and video innovators.

While Key and Peele were supposedly there to be the show’s social media critics, they failed to notice this huge omission. Instead, social media, created by real music fans, was quick to notice that the VMAs failed to honor both of these revolutionary performers.

“No tribute to Prince and Bowie? Shame on #VMAs”

9/9/99 New York, NY. David Bowie with his wife, Iman at the MTV Video Music Awards. Photo by Brenda Chase/Online USA, Inc.

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9/9/99 New York, NY. David Bowie with his wife, Iman at the MTV Video Music Awards. Photo by Brenda Chase/Online USA, Inc.

Could anyone have remedied this? Perhaps Queen Bey could have. In her 15 minutes of performing, Beyonce could have sung a few notes of “Purple Rain.” She has been very lucky to have performed with Prince in the past. It seems quite disrespectful to have not acknowledged Prince at an awards show.

And what of self-confessed Bowie-freak Kanye? In January, TheInquisitr reported that Kanye West planned on recording a David Bowie tribute album, because Kanye was so influenced by Bowie. At the VMAs, Kanye was given free rein to say whatever he wished and in his four-minute speech, he repeatedly mentioned his wife and focused on Taylor Swift only to rehash that tired and boring telephone story. Yet, despite plenty of opportunity for Kanye to speak his mind, with ample time that he rambled on about Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Republican candidate Donald Trump, why did he not at least mention David Bowie, especially if he truly was serious about recording a Bowie tribute album?

So, what exactly did Kanye ramble about? Was his speech so tightly woven that he could not mention a few words of tribute about each artist?

“I am Kanye West. And that feels really great to say, especially this year.”

“I came here to present my new video but before I do that. I’ma talk. Now, later tonight ‘Famous’ might lose to Beyoncé, but I can’t be mad. I’m always wishing for Beyoncé to win, so…”

“But for people to understand just how blessed we are, it was an expression of our now; our fame right now. Us on the inside of the TV. The audacity to put Anna Wintour right next to Donald Trump., I put ray j in it bro, like. This is fame, bro. Like…”

“I see you, Amber.”

“My wife is a G; Not a lot of peoples’ wives would let them say that.”

“We came over in the same boat; now we all in the same bed. Well, maybe, different boats, but you know. But if you think about it, last week there was 22 people murdered in Chicago. People came to me like, ‘That’s right. Taylor [Swift]. I love all of you. That’s why I called her.'”

“So I was speaking at the Art Institute last year and one kid came up to me and he said, ‘Three of my friends died and I don’t know if ima be the next.’ You know when you’re a senior, and it’s like the last month and you just don’t feel like doing any more work. If you feel like you seeing people dying right next to you, you might feel like, “What’s the point?” Like life will feel start to feel worthless in a way.”

“I know times for me, I sit down and talk to older, rich people (aka white). they tell me, don’t compare yourself to Steve Jobs, don’t compare yourself to Walt Disney. And my friend… told me, “Don’t compare yourself to these people.” My friend told me there’s three keys to keeping people impoverished: that’s taking away their esteem, taking away their resources and taking away their role models. My role models are artist merchants. There’s less than 10 that I can name in history: Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs, West.”

“Bro. Bro!! Tonight, we’re here to have fun. I’m standing in front of my idol Puff Daddy. I’m standing in front of my wife, Kim Kardashian West. I’m standing in front of the future Chance the Rapper. 2 Chainz. Jaden Smith. Bro. We are undeniably the influence; the thought leaders. I’m gunna play ya’ll a piece of my art. And I just hope you all have a good time. Play that.”

Do you agree that it was VERY déclassé of MTV to forget to honor David Bowie and Prince? Should Beyonce and/or Kanye have at least said a few words about Prince and Bowie?

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]