The Evolution of Black Music Videos in The Last Decade -
Amaris Buford Pleas and Essence McClure
Since the music video debut of "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson on MTV in 1983, African American artists have used music videos to tell a story. A music video can be defined as a video of variable length that brings imagery to a song; it is used to promote the artist and the single. During the beginning of the 21st century, the Black Entertainment network created 106 N Park; every week, a video countdown would list the top current music videos by Black artists. This not only promoted artists and their songs, but viewers were able to engage with the visuals of different hit records. If a song had a good video, it did better on the charts. The Black entertainment network also hosted an annual award show, "the BET Awards," that would honor various Black artists. Two awards included the "Music Video of the Year" award and the "Music Video Director of the Year." The Music Video of the Year award has become serious across award shows; Kanye West protested Beyonce's Single Ladies video at the VMAs. From 2010 until 2020, the advancement in music videos amongst the Black community has evolved tremendously.
Hype Williams is one of the most legendary names in music. He has a gift for visual storytelling, and he is known for his signature fish eye lens. In addition, he has also injected so much skill into the world of Hip-Hop visuals by teaching upcoming music video directors. He has won two Music Video Director of the Year awards and was nominated for nine. He has worked with Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Beyonce, Kanye West, etc.
Benny Boom is a music video director, one of William’s students; he has worked in music, film, and television. As a music director, he has won five BET “Music Video Director of the Year” awards. He has worked with artists such as Ciara, Waka Flocka Flame, Usher, Nicki Minaj, and more. His videos have helped artists turn their songs into hit records.
In 2010, Beyonce won the Video of the Year award at annual BET Awards. The video was directed by Hype Williams.
In 2013, the BET Award went to Young Money breakout star Drake. It was directed by Director X, another music video director who has played a major role in the hip-hop industry.
Both Beyonce and Bruno Mars won the Best Music Video award in 2017. Beyonce’s Sorry being directed by Kahlil Joseph and Beyonce herself. 24K by Bruno mars was directed by Cameron Duddy.
In 2020, Higher by DJ Khaled featuring John Legend and the late Nipsey Hussle won Video of the Year at the BET Awards. This was the last video that featured Nipsey Hussle before he passed. It was directed by Eif Rivera.
Cardi B holds the most recent “Best Video of The Year” 2021 Award for her music video “W.A.P” featuring Meg the Stallion