Each year I make an effort to watch the MTV Video Music Awards. I find that the awards show offers a glimpse into current teen culture. What music is popular with teens, what actors and artists are popular, fashion trends and much more. When I watch the show and try to decipher what I am viewing and put it into context with where teen culture is at I am coming from an adult perspective. One thing I have learned over my years working with teens is if you really want to understand whats going on with teens and more about their culture you need to ask teens themselves. With that in mind, I decided to ask a teen who was watching the MTV Video Music Awards to write a guest post for me sharing his review and opinion as a teen. Check out what 18-year-old DeQuan from New Jersey had to say about this years VMA’s.
So it was that time of year again. That time where the biggest names in music that appeal to most people under the age of 25 get together. That’s right I’m talking about the MTV Video Music Awards. This year marked the 29th anniversary of the ongoing award show. This year’s host was Kevin Heart, no doubt because of the well received reactions to the opening he did at last year’s show. Kevin was a laugh riot throughout the night making jokes about what is going on in the pop culture world.
There was no huge disagreement amongst fans as to who won what this year. Chris Brown taking home best Male Video while Nicki Minaj took home best female video. Best Electronic Video went to Calvin Harris while Drake and Lil Wayne took the award for the Hip-Hop category. If there was one complaint about this year’s show perhaps it would have been the fact that MTV doesn’t separate groups and solo artists.
One Direction took home the best new artist award and there was no doubt that they would. Since they debuted their hit single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” it’s been topping the charts everywhere. They even preformed it at the closing ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London over the summer. They were up against Frank Ocean whose performance was a surprise to everyone and became one of the most talked about performances on twitter with over 30,000 tweets. In my opinion, separating groups and solo artists, would allow some artist’s to stand a better chance at winning. Not that I don’t like One Direction, I enjoy them very much and I have their entire album, however others in that category were Fun and I wanted both groups to win. Perhaps if there was a category for best new groups it would give exposure to more groups and solo artists alike.
Other performances that took the night were those of Pink who played tribute to herself both with her opening song “Get this party started” and by swinging through the air as she did during her highly acclaimed 2009 performance. Also, one can’t forget Alicia Keys whose performances are always memorable and star-studded. She was nothing short of magnificent. Perhaps the most anticipated performance of the night and the one I definitely looked forward to was the performance of the absolutely flawless Taylor Swift. Her new number one smash hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” which became the most digitally downloaded songs only two weeks after its release. Taylor’s performance was very upbeat and had the entire crowd ecstatic and hyped. It’s definitely one for the VMAs history books.
Overall I think we can all say this year’s awards went off without a hitch. There was even attention drawn to Chris Brown hugging Rihanna, really expressing that the vibe of the night was peaceful and just about celebrating music. Special nod to Kevin for really keeping the show flowing as well
On another note, this show does showcase a part of Teen Culture in terms of music as well as other mediums. This was seen by some of the guests in the audience (Twilight Cast, Dwight Howard, Jersey Shore Cast). I would say that the MTV VMA’s is an accurate way to judge teen culture. Many of the presenters are popular among teen audiences, although many of them were there to remind us that they still exist and that they have an upcoming project.
As far as they way many of them act I feel that it’s just apart of the brand they’ve established for themselves (Nicki Minaj for example). The unfortunate truth is that we are a generation that likes to go uncensored and unfiltered. We like talking about topics and subjects that in the past would be considered very touchy. The problem is we don’t know where to draw that line. Rihanna speaking about wanting someone to be her “sex slave” was a bit much. However, most teens don’t realize the true messages behind the performances, for most of us it’s about the visual and the beat.
To an extent, as a teen it does bother me. I’m not angry with Rihanna, I love her as an artist. But the truth is in this society with the level of success and fame that many of the artists featured on the show have achieved the responsibility of being a role model. As an author of a series of books for young adults, I try very hard to ensure that the right messages are being sent out. The truth is songs like Rihanna’s are acceptable and are considered the norm among most teens. I think there needs to be a limit yes, moments like Kanye’s were frowned upon. And though it was wrong, yes I think promoting songs about sex and drugs aren’t that great either.
What it comes down to unfortunately is that the MTV VMA’s promote artists that are popular, they have no control of what record industries allow to be put on the radio. But MTV does know that if they want ratings then they must feature those artists who are currently popular. I don’t think any artist is perfect but they should strive harder to send positive messages. An adult watching might get many mixed messages, but the truth is being a teen these days, that’s how our lives are. We get many mixed messages from the media
There you have it. The MTV VMA’s from a teens perspective. I want to thank DeQuan for his guest post. DeQuan will begin studying film making and screenwriting in January at the New York Film Academy. He is the creator and author of the Danger Kids Series with the first novel to be released December 12th. He is an avid blogger and blogs about thing that currently affect his generation from politics to media.