Back in the 1980s, when MTV’s racism was more transparent than it is today, David Bowie took exception to the network’s exclusion of Black artists. Tales of that interview are circulating the Internet this morning following news of the legendary singer’s passing.
We’ve managed to track down a transcript of the conversation between Bowie and former MTV personality Mark Goodman that you can read below:
David Bowie: Why are there practically no Black artists on the network?
Mark Goodman: We seem to be doing music that fits into what we want to play on MTV. The company is thinking in terms of narrowcasting.
David Bowie: There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I’m surprised aren’t being used on MTV.
Mark Goodman: We have to try and do what we think not only New York and Los Angeles will appreciate, but also Ploughkeepsie or the Midwest. Pick some town in the Midwest which would be scared to death by… a string of other black faces, or black music. We have to play music we think an entire country is going to like, and certainly we’re a rock and roll station.
David Bowie: Don’t you think it’s a frightening predicament to be in?
Mark Goodman:Yeah, but no less so here than in radio.
David Bowie: Don’t say, ‘Well, it’s not me, it’s them.’ Is it not possible it should be a conviction of the station and of the radio stations to be fair… to make the media more integrated?
Bowie, who married supermodel Iman in 1992, passed away on Sunday night after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 69.