Controversy in MusicVideosand CensorshipWhat is a music video?It is a form of artistic expression but this can be aproblem as it is subjective and therefore whatdeems as acceptable to one may be seen asoffensive to another due to cultural relativism(religion, culture, laws and ethics)How to avoid upsetting people?Record labels usually provide differentversion of the videos. (Censored anduncensored versions) However, in extremecircumstances, the video may be bannedentirely due to it being seen as being tooffensive to be broadcast to the public.
1980sBody Language – QueenThis was the first video to be bannedby MTV in 1982Why was it banned?- Thinly veiled homoerotic undertones(skin and sweat) This seemedunsuitable for television at the time.Physical – Olivia Newton-JohnHer 1981 video showcased malemodels working out in string bikinis.This ended with a pair walking off tothe male locker rooms holding hands.The video stopped airing the videobefore the homosexual ending.
1990s :MadonnaIs the artist most associated with video censorship due tothe marketing of her sexuality• Like A Virgin :related to teen pregnancy• Like a Prayer :religious, sexual and raciallyorientated imagery.• Justify My Love :was banned by MTV for its depictionof sadomasochism, homosexuality,cross dressing and group sex.
1990s• EbeneezerGoode – TheShamenthis was banned bythe BBC for itsendorsement ofEcstasy.• The Gift - INXSwas banned by MTV dueto its use of Holocaustan Gulf War footagealong withfamine, pollution, warand terrorism.• The ProdigyMusic videos for Smack my bitch up and Firestartercaused controversy due to its drug references.Smack my bitch up : banned by BBC due to its endorsementof ecstasy.Firestarter : banned by the BBC due to its references toarson. It was also banned in some other countries due to itsnudity and drug use.
2000s• This Love –Maroon 5this videoshowcases intimatescene betweenAdam Levine, thelead singer andthen girlfriend.This causedcontroversy anddespite being shotas strategicangles, a censoredversion wasreleased withcomputergenerated imageryof flowers in orderto cover up more.• Rock DJ – Robbie Williamsgraphic nature featuring stripping naked thenpealing off skin to reveal body flesh andripping out muscles and organs, revealing abody skeleton. This was censored in the UKand only broadcasted the unedited video after10p.m.
2000s• Just Lose It – Eminemthis caused controvesy due to its parody ofMichael Jacksons child molestation trial andsurgery. This was banned from BET andJackson called the video “inappropriate anddisrespectful”• All the things she said – t.A.T.uthis featured young girls embracing in kissing.This highlighted the fact that it could attractpaedophiles due to being in uniform in themusic video. As a result, the duochoreographed the kiss during liveperformances, this was fought back by cuttingto clips of the audience during the kiss.
2010s• Telephone – Lady Gagathere was a rumour around thismusic video suggesting that MTVput a ban on the video because thecontent could not be shown withintheir programming. This wasdenied by MTV and frequentlyshowed the video on EuropeanMTV programming. • S&M – Rihannathis video features Rihannawhipping a tied up man, takinghostages and indulging in alesbian kiss. This was banned in11 countries and deemed asinappropriate for those under18.
Conclusion – How the media isperceived?• Music videos are banned due to what seems acceptable at different times.For example, when music videos were first released, having a strongemphasis on sex would seem inappropriate. However, this is mainly thefocus of the majority of videos in our current time.• This is also dependent on countries as around the world, different placeshave different cultures, making different things ethically acceptable. Artistsand record labels must take this into consideration in order to ensure thattheir music is not upsetting different members of society as this candamage their reputation and therefore lose out on sales.• Another common feature which influences music videos would be the actualcontent or message it is trying to convey. This must be done in such a waywhich protects those vulnerable such as children or those in countriesinvolved in wars. However, the media strongly influences and shapes ouropinions on certain topics. This therefore gives artists a strong base andalso the power to portray a certain image to influence the majority ofpeople.
Conclusion – How technological facilitieshave enabled music videos to reach thepublic• In the past, the only way to view musicvideos would be through the television onchannels such as MTV.• This allows us to access music videos notonly on our computers but due totechnological convergence, we are able toaccess media on our mobilephones, iPads, etc.• This however has changed and made it muchmore accessible to the majority of people throughthe internet. This is through sites such asYouTube, Vevo as well as on websites of musicchannels such as MuchMusic or MTV.co.uk• YouTube and Vevo have enabled artists to storetheir music videos on channels by creatingplaylists not only for their music but those withsimilar genres or interests.