The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards are coming up and once again, music fans are excited about this year's nominees including Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, and DJ Khaled. The highest award of the night is the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard, given to an artist whose music and videos have shaped the industry. Recipients include Michael Jackson (who the award was renamed after), Madonna, Janet Jackson (who also holds the record for the youngest recipient), Duran Duran, Kanye West, and last year Rihanna, just to name a few. Every year, there's always a discussion of who should receive the award, and this year pop-rock artist, P!nk, will be taking the award (and of course controversy started as soon as it was announced she would be this year's recipient). I thought to myself, “there are a few more people who still deserve this award.” So I decided to create a list of people who deserve the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard. These artists have set the standard for music videos, broke social barriers, and left an impact on the music industry.
(1) Missy Elliott
In an industry where dark skin women and plus size women are often seen in the background, Missy Elliott broke the mold in music and in videos. The rapper who was once replaced in a Raven-Symone video because of her weight has the most vibrant, eye-popping collection of music videos that have stunned us. From the costumes to the animation, Missy opened the doors for hip-hop artists to think outside the box when it comes to music videos, paving the way for other female rappers such as Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks.
(If she does win she would be the first female rapper to win this award)
The Purple One, the Royal Badass, that sexy muthaf*cka…whatever nickname you want to give him, just acknowledge his greatness. Although he didn’t receive one while he was on Earth, now more than ever he deserves one. Prince’s music was universal and his video, much like his style, was eccentric and gave the ability to those played with their sexuality and their gender, setting the trend for care-free black boys. Prince was truly the original definition of #BlackBoyJoy
The biggest-selling American girl group made a big impact with their music videos. The dynamic trio used their music videos to put a spotlight on racism, safe sex, violence, and female empowerment. Many girl groups from Destiny’s Child to Fifth Harmony have followed the blueprint the R&B trio has created for music videos. TLC made it ok for girl groups to be strong in music videos.
(4) Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey set the bar for what a glamorous diva should be in the 90’s, as well as her videos. With her vocals paired with the hip-hop edge in her videos, you can always expect Mariah’s videos to be larger-than-life and have a dynamic storyline. Her fun and sensual persona in videos have influenced artists such as Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Leona Lewis.
(5) Fab 5 Freddy
Before there was Complex, Fader, Vibe, or 106 & Park, there was Yo! MTV Raps and Fab 5 Freddy was the host. The rapper, visual artist and hip-hop pioneer helped bring hip-hop music to the mainstream. His innovative fashion and interview style gave a voice for black youth during the late 80’s/early 90’s era of MTV. Fab 5 Freddy made Yo! MTV Raps the Soul Train of hip-hop, and today he is still teaching a new generation of kids the values of hip-hop.
(To be honest, everyone from the Golden Age of Hip Hop should get a Vanguard Award)
Although it’s been 16 years since tragic passing, Aaliyah’s influence is still prevalent in artist today. From her mysterious persona, the girl next door attitude, and her elaborate choreography and set designs, many artists including Beyonce, Rihanna, SZA, and Kehlani. Aaliyah’s fashion and visual artistry inspired many R&B female singers who want to give their fans a sensual yet bold vibe in their music videos.
Anyone else you think deserves the award? Let us know, comment below!