It was still the early days of MTV when David Bowie sat down for an interview in 1983 to talk about his album Let’s Dance. But while he was there, he decided to call out his hosts for not playing black artists.
“It occurred to me having watched MTV over the last few months that it’s a solid enterprise,” Bowie said during the interview with then-MTV VJ Mark Goodman. “It’s got a lot going for it. I’m just floored by the fact that there’s so few black artists featured on it. Why is that?”
“I think that we’re trying to move in that direction,” Goodman replied. “We want to play artists that seem to be doing music that fits into what we want to play for MTV. The company is thinking in terms of narrowcasting.”
“That’s evident,” Bowie responded. “It’s evident in the fact that the only few black artists that one does see are on about 2:30 in the morning to around 6:00. Very few are featured predominately during the day.”
The back-and-forth continued, as the two debated MTV’s need to find the correct balance of white and black featured artists.
“There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I’m surprised aren’t used on MTV,” he continued after the interviewer tried to explain that no such partitioning of time was going on at MTV.
He later challenged MTV, saying, “Should it not be a challenge to try and make the media far more integrated?”
Watch the entire brilliant segment above.