Michael Jackson Changes Music on MTV

A Pioneer Who Never Stopped Pushing

Michael Jackson had an enormous impact on the music video world and particularly on MTV (Music Television). Michael’s music videos, from the most famous to some of the lesser-known, had a variety of impacts of many fields, from race relations to global poverty to dance. Michael arguably changed the face of music videos and influenced countless numbers of performers to come. In the wake of Michael Jackson’s death and the aftermath of his death, artists such as Justin Timberlake, Madonna, and Britney Spears all claimed that they had been influenced by Michael Jackson's music videos. Michael Jackson made epic music videos with very famous directors. For example, Martin Scorcese directed the Bad video, and John Singleton directed the Remember the Time video, which had cameos by Magic Johnson and Eddie Murphy. Spike Lee directed another of Michael Jackson's music videos for They Don’t Care About Us. Adding to the press about Michael Jackson’s scandals was the high cost of Michael Jackson's music videos; the video for Beat It cost a reported $150,000!

Many people claimed that Michael Jackson’s greatest impact on MTV was that he desegregated music videos on the channel and on music television in general.

In addition, Michael Jackson turned the music video into a true art form rather than a simple promotional tool. In spite of all of Michael Jackson’s scandals and Michael Jackson’s changing appearance, few could argue about the greatness of some of his most famous music videos, such as Thriller and Bad. Michael introduced story lines into his music videos, a technique which was previously rare.


In addition, Michael Jackson pushed sexual boundaries unusual for MTV. For the Bad music video, Scorcese directed Michael to grab his crotch and chest, which would become his signature moves. Similarly, In the Closet, which featured model Naomi Campbell, was so sexually explicit that it was banned in South Africa! Black or White, a 14-minute music video, was highly edited because of extreme violence and sexual content. Michael Jackson was certainly not afraid to push taboo boundaries in his music videos, and as a result, he has left a lasting legacy on both MTV and the world of music videos.