As you lick the last bit of sauce from your fingers and gulp down the rest of your beer (or milk), you’re thinking about everything that you’ve seen during tonight’s MTV Video Music Awards, as well as things you wished you would have. The evening’s show saw us toe-tapping to an 80′s rock ballad-esque performance of “You and I” by Lady Gaga, gushing like neighborhood Girl Scouts over Justin Beiber‘s Best Male Video sweep, and rapping along with Jay-Z and Kanye West like little brothers to “Otis“. Not until Beyonce’s belly-warming performance of “Love On Top“ did we even remember R&B tonight. Does MTV recognize the genre that once held dominance during the 90s?
Singer/songwriter, Keri Hilson‘s, sarcastic tweet about her rejection from the MTV production probed the question…
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To answer that question, no…..and yes. For years MTV has glorified some of R&B’s biggest names like Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and TLC, who were VMA frequents. However, the elimination of the “Best R&B Video” category after 2006 let go of the strings the network loosely had with the genre.
The category was an open invitation for artists like The Fugees, En Vogue, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys (who was the first R&B artist to win Best New Artist in 2001) to be apart of an astounding night in music. Adele and Beyonce are the closest to representers at the live show.
Like rock, which plagued the network throughout the 80s, the popularity of such forms of music is the determining factor in MTV’s acknowledgment. After winning “Best Rock Video” for “Walk”, Foo Fighters defended their genre’s lack of presence as frontman Dave Grohl says,
“Never lose faith in rock music. You might have to look a little harder, but you will always find it.”
Befitting words. Artists like Brandy, Ne-Yo, Beyoncé, Miguel, Monica, Lloyd, and Kelly Rowland acts as oxygen to the bed-ridden genre, keeping R&B out of oblivion.
Only time will tell if their efforts will lead to a widespread increase in appreciation of R&B. Or will it all be in vain?