On August 1, 1981 at 12:01 a.m. EST, the world of music was forever changed with the debut of MTV.
From the first music video ever played on MTV (the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”) to “Yo! MTV Raps” (which played a significant role in bringing hip-hop music into the mainstream) to the first reality show (“The Real World”), MTV has both reflected American culture as well as helped create it.
While there is no one definitive list, celebrities, media outlets, and even regular fans have been making lists of the network’s top videos of all time. Among some of the most influential music videos are a number of iconic hip-hop videos including Beyonce‘s ‘Formation,’ Missy Elliott’s, ‘Get Ur Freak On,’ Rihanna‘s, ‘Shut Up and Drive,’ A Tribe Called Quest feat. Leaders of the New School’s ‘Scenario,’ the Notorious B.I.G.‘s ‘Hypnotize,’ Nicki Minaj‘s ‘Anaconda,’ and most recently, ‘Montero (Call Me by Your Name)’ by Lil Nas X.
While celebrities and hip-hop stars took to social media to wish a happy 40th birthday to MTV, the network was also busy making a few announcements of its own. The network announced that the 2021 MTV Video Music awards show will take place this year in Brooklyn (the 2020 show was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic) while also debuting a redesign of the iconic “Moon Person” awards show trophy.