That Time David Bowie Called Out MTV For Racial Discrimination

"I'm just floored there's so few black artists featured on it, why is that?"

A 1983 MTV interview with David Bowie is making its rounds on the Internet Monday, a day after the legendary singer's death. 

In the video interview with MTV veejay Mark Goodman, Bowie called out the network for neglecting to air music videos by black artists. 

"[MTV] is a solid enterprise and it's got a lot going for it," Bowie said. "I'm just floored there's so few black artists featured on it, why is that?" 

A tweet posted Monday has more from that interview and has since gone viral: 

Bowie's concern was also echoed by many big, black artists of the time, including Rick James, who called MTV "racist" after the network turned down his 1982 video "Super Freak." 

"I'm just tired of the bullsh*t. I have sold over 10 million records in a four-year period... and I can't get on the channel," James reportedly said in a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone. He mentioned some of his other successful peers like Stevie Wonder,  Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson, among others, who had also been excluded from the network. "It's like taking black people back 400 years," he reportedly said. 

For his part, Bowie helped to bring more recognition for notable artists like Michael Jackson and also played a significant role in identifying, collaborating with and, ultimately, solidifying the success of soul stars like Luther Vandross. Vandross, who died in 2005, co-wrote the song "Fascination" and later became a backup singer and opening act for Bowie's world tour in 1974. 

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