MTV Quietly Removed Michael Jackson’s Name From Vanguard Award at VMAs Without Many Noticing

Fallout from the documentary aimed at exposing the late legend Michael Jackson, HBO’s  Leaving Neverland, continues to happen.  Although many accounts and claims from the film had been debunked, that didn’t stop many from wanting to disassociate themselves from the entertainer.

During Jackson’s illustrious and long career, the “You Rock My World” singer has achieved more than most and been awarded countless accolades, even posthumously.  In 1988, he became the recipient of MTV’s Video Vanguard Award.  Three years later, the prestigious award was then renamed after Michael Jackson by the network.

The award was established in 1984 by MTV for “outstanding contributions” within music videos or popular culture. Thirty-four acts in total have received this accomplishment by the network and its committee. Other recipients of the award include Pink, Rihanna, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Kanye West among others.

However, it seems as though the famed music television network might be considering removing Jackson’s name altogether from the award.  Months after the documentary’s 2019 release, PageSix broke the news that the network would perhaps be doing so.  

Sources told the mag, “There’s a lot of heated discussion at the network about how to handle the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award this year, and it’s getting ugly.  There’s talk about if they should change the name, or get rid of it altogether. [There’s also talk] about who would pre­sent it and who would accept it. It’s a mess.”

The recipient of the award that year was iconic Hip-Hop artist Missy Elliot.  When the announcement was made, it was stated that Elliot would be receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.  She tweeted her excitement saying, “I am humbly grateful to be receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award… I Thank my FANS “Supafriends” who fought diligently to see this day come. @KidFury @Crissles who rooted for years 4 me. I am crying happy tears. Thank you God @MTV @VMAs am SO HUMBLED.”

But the only mention of Jackson during the show was when Elliott referred to the superstar and award by its given name during her acceptance speech.  She also took the time to thank his sister, Janet Jackson, for their friendship.

MTV has not made an official statement for their decision, but it was noted that on their official Youtube account as well as their official website, his name has been removed from the award.  Also, for the 2020 VMAs the award was noticeably missing, but replaced with the inaugural “Tricon Award” which represents “achievement in three (or more) fields of entertainment.”  The award was presented to Lady Gaga.

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