I used to watch award shows when a lot of the hype was about which artist won and who performed the best. Some of the most buzz-worthy parts of the show would include an artist doing something pretty impressive. This year's MTV Video Music Awards were a little different. I'm not sure if I saw anything impressive, but I did have at least five moments where I was thinking "WTF?"
Nicki Minaj identified an industry preference for what is seen as attractive, acceptable and what should be rewarded. It shouldn't be surprising that black artists feel some type of way when their cultural influence is undeniable but remains unrecognized. It is, however, surprising that the industry that still makes money off the backs of black artists still doesn't take them seriously.
As the 31st annual MYTV VMAs prepares to get under way on Sunday night, performers might pay mind that aiming for a Miley bump might still net you a Robin bomb. For if last year proved anything it's that manufacturing controversy as a marketing technique is risky because it's impossible to tell what might catch fire and what will simply burn to the ground.
This is not about Miley. It's not about back-up dancers. It's not about one entertainment show that happened one night in August 2013. It's about an institutionalized thought process that is subtly reinforced at every given opportunity. And if we stop writing about the institution, aren't we doing society a disservice?