MTV Video Music Awards

MTV Video Music Awards

Infobox award
name = Video Music Awards

imagesize =
caption = Logo for the 2008 VMAs
current_awards =
description = Music videos and pop culture
presenter = MTV
country = United States
year = September 14, 1984–Present
website =

The MTV Video Music Awards were established in the end of the summer of 1984 by MTV to celebrate the top music videos of the year. Originally beginning as an alternative to the Grammy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards is now a respected pop culture awards show in its own right. Fact|date=October 2008 They are presented annually and broadcast live on MTV. Past broadcasts have been held in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas. In 2008, the MTV Video Music awards were held in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California at Paramount Pictures Studios on September 7.

The statues given to winners is an astronaut on the moon, one of the earliest representations of MTV. The eligibility period for the Video Music Awards currently begins July 1. Before 2002, the VMAs were traditionally held on the second Thursday of September. The VMA's date was moved back a week so that it would never coincide with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.Fact|date=September 2008

Other than presenting performers or announcing the winners, several of these celebrities have made taped appearances that will be shown during the awards show; these celebrities either talk about their favorite moments or controversial highlights that are much publicized by the media.

Notable moments


*Madonna's performance at the First Annual MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 is considered to be an iconic performance in music history. She took the stage to sing "Like a Virgin" wearing a combination bustier/wedding gown, which included her trademark "Boy Toy" belt. During the performance, she rolled around on the floor, revealing lacy stockings and garters, and made a number of sexually suggestive moves. [ [,,20053852_20083005,00.html Madonna, 1st annual MTV Video Music Awards, 1984, VMAs Greatest Moments - Party Photos - Parties - In Style ] ]

*Whitney Houston, who was one of the first female African American artists to receive heavy rotation on network, performed "How Will I Know" and "Greatest Love of All". The network previously received criticism for not playing enough videos by black artists.

*Controversial comic Andrew Dice Clay's appearance on the 1989 Video Music Awards to promote his new movie, "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane", earned him a "lifetime ban" from the network due to his sets excessive use of vulgar language and references. [ [ Andrew Dice Clay at ] ]

*After performing on the 1989 VMAs with Tom Petty, Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin was assaulted by Mötley Crüe lead singer Vince Neil, leading to a verbal battle between Vince and Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose when Axl stood up for Izzy. [ [ Here Today... Gone To Hell! - Guns N' Roses History ] ]


*Conflict between Poison's Bret Michaels and C.C. DeVille culminated in a fistfight at the Video Music Awards in 1991, provoked by DeVille's live performance which was perceived as inept. DeVille was fired and replaced by Pennsylvanian guitar virtuoso Richie Kotzen. [ [ MTV Video Music Awards | 1991 | Highlights, Winners, Performers and Photos from the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards | ] ]

*The 1991 VMAs included the first public appearance by Paul Reubens after his lewd-conduct arrest earlier that year. Taking the stage in costume as Pee Wee Herman, he received a standing ovation, after which he asked the audience, "Heard any good jokes lately?" [ [ Paul Reubens Discusses Pee-Wee's Big Return - Movie News Story | MTV Movie News ] ]

*In 1992, MTV had requested Nirvana perform their smash hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit," while the band themselves had indicated they preferred to play their new songs, "Rape Me" and "Tourette's". This did not go over well with network executives, who continued to push for "Teen Spirit." Finally, offering a compromise, MTV executives offered the band a choice to play either "Teen Spirit" or "Lithium," which the band appeared to accept. However, at the actual performance, Nirvana began to play, and Kurt Cobain played the first few chords of the song, "Rape me" much to the horror of MTV execs. The band did finally return to their regular performance of "Lithium." Near the end of the song, frustrated that his amp had stopped functioning, bassist Krist Novoselic decided to toss his bass into the air for dramatic effect. Unfortunately, he misjudged the landing, and the bass ended up bouncing off of his forehead, forcing him to stumble off the stage in a daze. [ [ MTV Video Music Awards | 1992 | Highlights, Winners, Performers and Photos from the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards | ] ]

*Guns N' Roses' hit ballad "November Rain" became the most requested video on MTV, eventually winning an MTV Video Music Award for best cinematography in 1992. During the awards show, the band performed "November Rain" with singer Elton John. Because of the dispute Axl had with Cobain, moments before the "November Rain" performance, Cobain spat on the keys of what he thought was Axl's piano. Cobain later revealed that he was shocked to see Elton John play on the piano he had spat on.

*RuPaul caused a bit of controversy at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards when he was given the opportunity to present an award with legendary actor Milton Berle. The two had conflicts back-stage, and when Berle inappropriately touched RuPaul's breasts, RuPaul ad-libbed the line "So you used to wear gowns, but now you're wearing diapers." The press picked this up as a crack in the "love everyone" message RuPaul presented, and depicted the incident as a young newcomer treating a legend poorly. [ [,,20053852_20083021,00.html RuPaul and Milton Berle, 1993 VMAs, Greatest VMA Moments - Party Photos - Parties - In Style ] ]

*At the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards on September 8, shortly after a profanity-laced appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman", Madonna was announced to present the award for Best Group Video. She came out arm-in-arm with an unannounced David Letterman, to a wild ovation. At the microphone, Letterman told her, "I'll be out by the car. Watch your language," and then left. Madonna has made several appearances on Letterman's show since, the two now treating the incident with humor. main|Madonna on Letterman

*On September 4, 1996, the four original members of Van Halen made their first public appearance together since their infamous break-up in 1985, presenting an MTV Video Music Award amidst thunderous applause. Backstage, after presenting an award to Beck, David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen reportedly nearly came to blows. Several weeks later, the public learned that Van Halen would not reunite with Roth, to much outrage. Roth released a media statement apologizing to fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a publicity stunt to sell more copies of the greatest hits album, and that he had been led to believe that he was rejoining Van Halen. The following day, Eddie and Alex Van Halen released a media statement, stating that they had been honest with Roth, and never led him to believe that he had been re-hired. [ [ MTV Video Music Award - Memorable Moments ] ]

*In 1997, Pat Smear announces that he is leaving Foo Fighters and presents his replacement, Franz Stahl whom he had been with David Grohl in the band Scream. Pat would come back to the band 10 years later in 2007.

*In 1997, Puff Daddy released his debut album "No Way Out", featuring the successful tribute single "I'll Be Missing You", dedicated to the recently murdered Notorious B.I.G. The song featured Puff Daddy, Biggie's widow Faith Evans and R&B group 112. The song sampled the melody of The Police's hit song "Every Breath You Take." All these artists performed the song with former Police vocalist Sting during the 1997 Video Music Awards.

*The odd pairing of presenters Martha Stewart and Busta Rhymes at the 1997 Video Music Awards drew much talk in the press. They presented the best dance video award to the Spice Girls for their music video "Wannabe."

*While accepting the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist Video of 1997 ("Sleep To Dream"), Fiona Apple appealed to her audience not to be enamored of celebrity culture. Referring to the MTV/Music Industry she proclaimed "this world is bullshit". Though her comments were generally greeted with cheers and applause at the awards ceremony, the media backlash was huge; host Chris Rock made a derisive comment about her speech. Some considered her remarks to be hypocritical, seeing a contradiction between her appearance in a risqué music video in only her underwear and her telling young women to ignore celebrity culture. However she was unapologetic: "When I have something to say, I'll say it"." [ [ The 5 Most Absurd Moments in VMA History | ] ]

* At the 1998 VMA's, Brandy and Monica performed The Boy Is Mine together live for the first time, putting an end to the media speculation that the two were rivals.

* During the original broadcast of the 1998 VMA's, a commerical faded in the Nine Inch Nails NIN logo on a black screen while playing a combination of music that started as a solo piano piece and morphed into a electronic/industrial beat (which would later found out to be the songs La Mer and Into The Void, which share many melodic componants and can be considered variations on a theme) and ended with Trent Reznor screaming "Tried to save myself, but myself kept slipping away" and the word "ninetynine" in the trademark NIN reversed-N font. This was only show one during the original broadcast, was edited out of all repeats, and generally seen as a sign that the long-awaited follow-up to The Downward Spiral would be released early in 1999. Ironically, work was continued on the album through the first half of 1999, and Nine Inch Nails performed the title track The Fragile off the double-CD at 1999 MTV Video Music Awards almost one year to the day of the "ninetynine" commerical. It can be found as an Easter Egg or on the "Beneath The Surface" menu on the live NIN DVD and all that could have been.

*Lil' Kim showed up at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards with an entire breast exposed and only a tiny piece of fabric over the nipple. Kim's outfit became even more controversial later that night, when she appeared on stage with Mary J. Blige and Diana Ross to present an award, and Ross reached over, cupped her hand under Kim's exposed breast and jiggled it while both laughed heartily.

*Two of the presenters at the 1999 VMAs were Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace, the mothers of the recently slain Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., who met for the first time. [ [ MTV Video Music Awards | 1999 | Highlights, Winners, Performers and Photos from the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards | ] ]

*In 1999, the VMAs opened with a performance by Kid Rock, Run DMC and Jam Master Jay, and Aerosmith. Songs performed were Kings of Rock, Bawitdaba, Rock Box, and Walk this way.


*At the 2000 Video Music Awards, D'Angelo and Jennifer Lopez presented the award for Best Rock Video to Limp Bizkit. As Fred Durst was making his speech, Tim Commerford, the bassist for Rage Against the Machine, climbed onto the scaffolding of the set and threatened to jump. Fred Durst began to egg Commerford on by saying "Stage dive, dude" and "Take a dive"," finally ending his speech with "and [Commerford] 's a pussy cause he won't jump." By this time the crowd had started a small "Jump!" chant. The show soon went into a commercial break. Commerford, along with his bodyguard, was sentenced to a night in jail, though he later claimed the stunt was intended as a joke. Zack De La Rocha, the lead singer for RATM reportedly left the awards after Tim's stunt. Many people speculated that this further fueled the ongoing tension between the band which eventually led to their break up.

*Also at the 2000 VMAs, Britney Spears gave a memorable live performance of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and her own hit "Oops!... I Did It Again". While she began her segment in a black suit, she shocked the media while, at only the age of eighteen, ripped that off to display a revealing, flesh-colored stage outfit.

*Also at the 2000 VMAs, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera proved that the rumors of their rivalry were fake, as they came onstage, holding hands and introduced Whitney Houston. Houston, who had been targeted by the media for erratic behavior, cancelled appearances, and drug use rumors and was busted for carrying marijuana at a Hawaiian airport just a few months prior, came out to a standing ovation and introduced an award to Eminem with husband Bobby Brown who was recently released from jail. Houston showed more erratic behaviour, jumping up and down saying "free" in reference to Brown's recent jail release.

*The next year, at the 2001 Video Music Awards, Britney Spears again shocked the nation when she took the stage to give a performance of her then-new single, "I'm a Slave 4 U." Along with dancing in a very revealing outfit, the performance is probably most remembered for featuring the singer briefly dancing with a live albino Burmese Python on her shoulders. The inclusion of a snake in the performance bought a great deal of criticism from PETA. [ [,,20053852_20083019,00.html Britney Spears performs, 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, New York City, Greatest VMA Moments Ever - Party Photos - Parties - In St... ] ]

*U2 had been set to perform a medley including "Elevation", "Beautiful Day" and "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of." However, the riser they were performing on lost power and MTV had to cut to several minutes of promos while everything was setup again. However, they lost power again and finally the band was lowered to the ground and performed without the riser. Lead singer Bono made reference after the performance that MTV "forgot to pay the electricity bill." [ [ MTV Video Music Awards | 2001 | Highlights, Winners, Performers and Photos from the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards | ] ]

*Also at the 2001 awards, Michael Jackson made a surprise appearance at the end of 'N Sync's performance of "Pop" and, surrounded by members of the group, performed some of his trademark dance moves to the beatboxing of member Justin Timberlake.

*The 2002 VMAs opened with Britney Spears presenting a birthday present to Michael Jackson (His birthday coincided with the award ceremony). Upon introducing him, Spears referred to him as her "artist of the millennium". This lead Jackson to believe that he was the recipient of the Artist of the Millennium Award, saying "When I was a little boy growing up in Indiana if someone told me I'd be getting the artist of the millennium award, I'd have never believed it" [ [ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Eminem scoops MTV video awards ] ] . A year later, this was parodied by presenters Fred Durst and Jack Black.

*Christina Aguilera shocked the VMAs audience in 2002, appearing wearing a very revealing outfit and heavy make-up, with an oversexualized image contrasting to her previous pop-princess persona. She was also part of an awkward moment at the awards when presenting the Best Male Video Award to Eminem, who dissed her in 2000.

*Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog appeared at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards and had a confrontation with Eminem (which MTV later removed from rebroadcast airings). Eminem also had a confrontation with Moby, who had called the rapper's music misogynistic and homophobic.

*At the 2002 VMAs, Axl Rose unveiled the new lineup of Guns N' Roses. The band's set was the show's finale, and although the performance was meant to be kept a secret, some New York radio outlets announced the performance earlier in the day. The band played a set consisting of "Welcome to the Jungle," "Madagascar," and "Paradise City."

*At the 2003 Video Music Awards, Madonna caused a great deal of controversy when, at the end of their performance, she kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. [ [,,20053852_20083007,00.html Britney Spears, Madonna, and Christina Aguilera 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, Greatest VMA Moments - Party Photos - Parties - In Style ] ]

*The 2004 MTV Video Music Awards were held at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. This was the first time the awards show was held outside of New York City and Los Angeles. It was also the first video music awards to not have a host.

*At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Fat Joe made a disparaging comment about G-Unit during a performance: "I'd like to tell the people at home I feel so safe tonight with all this police protection courtesy of G-Unit. . ." Later in the show, after G-Unit's performance, 50 Cent addressed the crowd with a profanity-laden criticism of Fat Joe. [ [ Fat Joe Says 50's Taunts Led To VMA Dis - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News ] ]

*At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, R.Kelly performed his Rap opera, "Trapped in the Closet".

*At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Shakira made history by having the first performance ever totally in Spanish of her hit song "La Tortura" featuring Alejandro Sanz. It was also the first time that a Spanish video was nominated at the awards.

*The 2007 Video Music Awards is best known for Britney Spears's infamous performance of her comeback single "Gimme More". Spears, who had been going through personal problems throughout most of 2007, failed to live up to the pre-show hype about her appearance, with poor lip-synching and dancing. [cite web|url=,,20053775_20055483,00.html|title=Britney Spears's Comeback a Bust at VMAs|last=Orloff|first=Brian |date=2007-09-09||accessdate=2008-09-03]

*Also at the 2007 VMAs, Kid Rock and Tommy Lee were involved in an altercation at the Video Music Awards during the come-back performance of Alicia Keys. A source reported that Tommy Lee was sitting with magician Criss Angel when the two went to visit Diddy, who was sitting close to Kid Rock. Shortly after the two went over to see Diddy, "all hell broke loose," that source told Access Hollywood. It is reported that Kid Rock sucker punched Tommy Lee in his back. The two who were once husbands of Pamela Anderson were broken up, and both were escorted from the resort. Angel was removed a short time later. The cause of the fight is unknown. [cite web |url= |title=Access Hollywood | Fight Breaks Out Between Tommy Lee & Kid Rock At VMAs | Celebrity and Hollywood News |accessdate=2007-10-02 |format= |work=]

*At the 2008 Video Music Awards, after 16 nominations, Britney Spears finally won a moonman. She won all three of her nominations for Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, and Video of the Year for "Piece of Me".

*At the 2008 Video Music Awards, host Russell Brand made comments on democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, telling the audience to vote for him. Brand also made controversial comments on President Bush, calling him a "retarded cowboy" and that he "wouldn't be trusted with a pair of scissors in Britain". Also, he made comments on the Purity rings worn by The Jonas Brothers. After these comments, Jordin Sparks announced "its okay to wear purity rings because not every guy and girl wants to be a slut". After this, Russell Brand apologized to the audience for making the comments.

Host cities

Current award categories

* Video of the Year
* Best Male Video
* Best Female Video
* Best New Artist
* Best Pop Video
* Best Rock Video
* Best Hip-Hop Video
* Best Dancing in a Video
* Best Direction in a Video
* Best Choreography in a Video
* Best Special Effects in a Video
* Best Art Direction in a Video
* Best Editing in a Video
* Best Cinematography in a Video
* MTV Video Vanguard Award

Past award categories

* Best Overall Performance in a Video (1984-1987)
* Most Experimental Video (1984-1987; replaced by Breakthrough Video)
* Best Concept Video (1984-1988)
* Best Stage Performance in a Video (1984-1989)
* Best Post-Modern Video (1989-1990)
* Best Long Form Video (1991)
* Best Alternative Video (1991-1998)
* Best Artist Website (1999)
* Best Video from a Film (1987-2003)
* International Viewer's Choice (1990?-2003; awards for individual regions were created and eliminated in different years)
* Breakthrough Video (1988-2005)
* Best Rap Video (1989-2006)
* Best R&B Video (1993-2006)
* Best Dance Video (1989-2006)
* MTV2 Award (2001-2006)
* Viewer's Choice (1984-2006)
* Best Video Game Soundtrack (2004-2006)
* Best Video Game Score (2006)
* Ringtone of the Year (2006)
* Best Group Video (1984-2007)
* Quadruple Threat of the Year (2007)
* Most Earthshattering Collaboration (2007)
* Monster Single of the Year (2007)


External links

* [ Access All MTV Australian Video Music Awards Coverage] News, Photos, Reviews & all things MTV Awards!
* [ South Beach Magazine] Article on MTV's Video Music Awards in Miami, with photos.
* [ The MTV Video Music Awards Web Site 2006]
* [ The MTV Video Music Awards Web Site 2007]
* [ The MTV Video Music Awards Web Site 2008]
* [ Memorable moments in VMA history]

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