By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
After months of hosting blockbuster concerts by artists like Jay-Z, the Who, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Neil Young and others, Barclays Center will now host this year’s MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25.
The MTV Video Awards, or “VMAs,” were conceived as a young-people’s alternative to the Grammys back in 1984, when music videos were new and were the latest craze among music-lovers. Venues where the awards have been presented include Madison Square Garden, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other high-profile locations.
A list of those who have performed at the awards reads like a history of popular music over the last 30 years. They include Cyndi Lauper (a native of Williamsburg, Brooklyn), Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Jon Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Marilyn Manson, the Backstreet Boys, Nirvana, Guns n Roses, Li’l Kim, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga.
Note that despite MTV’s youth emphasis, some of the artists who have performed at these awards were not that young at the time--for example, the members of Van Halen and singer Tom Petty were all in their 40s when they performed at the event during the mid-1990s.
“MTV’s ‘Video Music Awards’ are the perfect culmination to an incredible inaugural year for Barclays Center,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center. “The VMAs are a symbol of pop culture and have created iconic moments worldwide in music and entertainment. Brooklyn has become an international brand and is the perfect setting for these moments. We can’t wait to share our stage with the world.”
Borough President Marty Markowitz said, “From hip-hop to hipsters, Jay Z to MGMT, Brooklyn musicians have a long history of dominating the ‘spotlight’ on MTV. Brooklyn is a cultural Mecca—the hippest, coolest place for young people across the country, and has played a crucial role in the careers of some of 2013’s biggest bands, like Fun and the Lumineers.
“Now, it is only fitting that the first time Brooklyn will ever host a major awards show, we are welcoming the most exciting and talked about spectacle in the music industry: the ‘MTV Video Music Awards,” said the borough president.
At past VMA ceremonies, the colorful on-stage antics often received as much attention as the actual musical performances. For example, in 1989, Brooklyn-born comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay was banned from MTV for life after he started to recite some of his vulgar, off-color “nursery rhymes.”
In 1999, Li’l Kim went onstage in an outfit with one breast exposed. In 2001, Britney Spears danced with a tiger and a snake, sparking protests from animal-rights groups. In 2003, Madonna appeared as a “groom,” with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera playing her “brides.” And in 2011, Lady Gaga appeared in drag as her male “alter ego,” Jo Calederone.
The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards will air across MTV’s global network of more than 60 channels reaching more than a half-billion households around the world as well as through syndication.