Are Music Videos Dead?

Two pop-stars suggest the end is not near

Illustrator: Helen Teague

Illustrator: Helen Teague

MTV, the television channel that originally became popular by playing new music videos in the 1980s, has nearly stopped showing music videos altogether. The evolution of “music television” has resulted in a takeover of reality TV shows and the elimination of music related programming. But MTV’s lack of videos has not decreased their cultural value. Music videos allow artists to connect with their fans and share their opinions on current social issues.

The music video for Lady Gaga’s most recent song, “Til It Happens To You,” presents a raw and emotional portrayal of four young women being sexually assaulted. The video was a strong way to stand against sexual violence and raise awareness on how to stop sexual violence on college campuses.

Gaga took nondescript lyrics, which can be applied to all kinds of situations, and associated them with a major issue prevailing today—campus sexual assault. She took a stand and gave light to an important issue with a graphic music video.

The video was a strong way to stand against sexual violence and raise awareness on how to stop sexual violence on college campuses.

Beyoncé is also known for mixing up the music scene with her lyrics of empowerment and pride, and her new video for “Formation” is the ultimate example. Beyoncé owns her cultural identity in the “Formation” video, and despite the many costume and scene changes, her messages about police brutality and Hurricane Katrina are clear. The music video for “Formation” shows just how impactful music videos still are to the public.

The “Formation” music video was not the end of Beyoncé’s political message, though. Her performance of “Formation” at the 2016 Super Bowl addressed the Black Lives Matter Movement, Malcolm X, and the Black Panther Party. She used a national platform to address issues that are socially and culturally relevant. It was a brave and peaceful way to express her opinions to millions.

Many artists are shaking off the stereotype that music videos are solely lighthearted or for show. Lady Gaga and Beyoncé prove that controversial issues can still be discussed within the music industry, and music videos are the forefront to that discussion.