One interview that David Bowie did with MTV in 1983 has resurfaced following the sad news of the legendary singer’s death after a battle with cancer.
In the video interview with MTV veejay Mark Goodman, Bowie called out the network for neglecting to air music videos by black artists.
During the discussion Bowie said:
It occurred to me having done TV over the last few months that MTV is a solid enterprise and it’s got a lot going for it.
I’m just floored there’s so few black artists featured on it, why is that?
A tweet revealing more information from that interview and has since gone viral:
There are many reasons to love David Bowie. Here's one. 1982: challenging MTV on their refusal to play black music: pic.twitter.com/0ku30wccVG
— Charlene White (@CharleneWhite) January 11, 2016
According to the Huffington Post, Bowie’s concern was shared by many successful black artists of the time, including ‘Slick’ Rick James, who labelled MTV ‘racist’ after the network turned down his 1982 video Super Freak.
James mentioned some of his other peers such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson who had also been excluded from the network, he felt, due to their race.
James said in a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone:
I’m just tired of the bullshit.
I have sold over 10 million records in a four-year period and I can’t get on the channel.
For his part, Bowie did try to use his success to bring more recognition for notable artists such as Michael Jackson.
He also played a significant role in identifying and collaborating with up-and-coming soul stars like Luther Vandross who became a backup singer and opening act for Bowie’s world tour in 1974.
He will be remembered for a lot more than just his music.