• August 1, 2021

MTV’s 40th anniversary relaunch returns to ‘Moon Person’ image

MTV is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a re-release of its iconic image of an astronaut on the moon, with an MTV flag placed nearby.

On Sunday, the video channel revealed a large-scale “Person from the Moon” during a ceremony at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The new design was inspired by an image of Moon Person created this year by Kehinde Wiley, who painted the portrait of former President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. In an interview this week with The Associated Press, MTV Entertainment President and CEO Chris McCarthy said the image of space travel fit well with the spirit of his young audience.

“This is our third generation for which we are reinventing ourselves. Gen Z is by far one of the most interesting, incredibly creative and optimistic generations, ”he said. “And then we thought, ‘Let’s go back to the origins and do it with NASA, but really let’s do it about the next frontier, which represents Generation Z and really represents a beautiful lunar person that Kehinde built and where are we going to be next? ‘”.

NASA images of the historic Apollo 11 landing in 1969, with the MTV flag added to the mix, were the first images to appear on MTV on August 1, 1981, and the first video was “Video Killed the Radio Star “from Buggles. “MTV greatly expanded the power of visual images in the music industry and has since expanded its reach widely, broadcasting around the world and adding such influential channels and shows as VH1, Comedy Channel and the first reality show” The Real. World “.

After fans, critics, music industry leaders and artists like David Bowie criticized the channel for streaming videos of virtually only white artists in its early years, MTV began to play more Michael Jackson and other black artists who proved to be very popular. The hip-hop program “Yo! MTV Raps, ”which debuted in the United States in 1988, was praised for highlighting a subculture that eventually became mass culture.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say that we made mistakes along the way. One of the biggest mistakes in the early years was not playing music that was diverse enough, ”McCarthy said. “So we’ve certainly had our bumps on the road and we’ve made some mistakes. But the good thing I’ve always learned on MTV is that we have no problem acknowledging our mistakes, correcting them quickly and trying to do the right thing and always follow the audience’s lead. “

MTV now has a large social media presence, with over 700 million MTV Entertainment followers.

“We launched as a video channel in what was the new medium of the time in 1981, which, hard to believe, was cable.” McCarthy said. “I think the fun and interesting thing about MTV … is having to constantly explode and forget everything I knew so that we can recreate a new entity for each generation.”

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