Banned From TV

bnsmall.jpgMTV has become such an institution that people often forget it’s a business. If they air content that offends viewers or advertisers, the livelihood of the company could be threatened. To protect itself from scrutiny, MTV established a one-man Standards Department in 1984 to decide what images and words could be aired. While the number of people on the censorship board grew, the standards that they use are still very much subjective and open to interpretation. Aside from the obvious dirty words and sexual content, violence, drug use, racism and political statements are regularly deemed unacceptable by the Standards Department. The network is notoriously tight-lipped about the reasoning behind its decisions, so XXLMAG.COM decided to take a look at videos that MTV has not wanted you to see over the years.

Politics As Usual


Public Enemy “By The Time I Get To Arizona” (1991)

MTV does make an effort to instill a political consciousness in viewers through programming like their Rock the Vote campaign, even going so far as to bemoan the apolitical leanings of rappers in editorials like this one. Despite a desire to see more political awareness in music, the network regularly censors political content that their Standards Department does not agree with. Public Enemy’s “By the Time I Get to Arizona,” a song criticizing Arizona’s refusal to adopt the Martin Luther King holiday, was banned for its portrayal of the assassination of a white supremacist governor. The group was banned again when they refused to remove the phrase “Free Mumia” from the chorus of “Gotta Give Them What They Need.” Content related to snitching (Obie Trice’s “Snitch”) or police brutality (Geto Boys’ “Crooked Officer”) has been banned in the past, and videos that are seen as anti-American (Eminem’s “White America”) or endorsing terrorism (British rapper M.I.A.’s “Sunshowers”) have met the same fate.

Obie Trice feat. Akon “Snitch” (2006)
(click here to see video)

Eminem “White America” (2002)
(click here to see video)

Public Enemy “Gotta Give The Peeps What They Need” (2002)
(click here to see video)

M.I.A. “Sunshowers” (2005)
(click here to see video)

Commercial Break


The Pack “Vans” (2006)

In its effort to maintain artistic integrity, MTV has refused to play videos that strongly endorse commercial products. Most recently, the network refused to play The Pack’s “Vans” video, echoing a decision a few years ago to ban Nelly’s “Air Force Ones” (which was played by BET). Curiously, clips like Busta’s “Pass the Courvoisier” were in heavy rotation.

Nelly “Air Force Ones” (2002)
(click here to see video)

Sex Crimes


Eminem “Superman” (2002)

One of the easiest ways to get banned is to show too much flesh or be too suggestive about sex. Today, many artists anticipate the ban and opt to bypass MTV, instead relying on late-night and local outlets to get their clips seen. But with the cancellation of BET’s notorious Uncut program, the Internet may soon be the only place these types of videos are available.

Nelly “E.I. (The Tip Drill Remix)” (2003)
(click here to see video)

NERD “Lapdance (Uncensored)” (2001)
(click here to see video)

50 Cent “Disco Inferno” (2005)
(click here to see video)

Race Card


Brand Nubian “Wake Up” (1990)

MTV has refused to play any clips that can be construed as racist, which increasingly became a factor with the popularity of Black Nationalist consciousness in rap in the early ’90s. The network was not amused by videos depicting the White man as the devil, refusing to play prominent clips by MCs who prescribe to the dogma of the 5 Percent Nation. Additionally, the network has frowned on videos depicting violence towards White people, like dead prez’s clip for “Hell Yeah,” where a white family on vacation gets car jacked.

Paris “Devil Made Me Do It” (1990)
(click here to see video)

dead prez “Hell Yeah” (2004)
(click here to see video)

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    Uno.

  • Kadreemaliq

    first

  • Profit

    Dos

  • LBDII

    Awsome.

  • My Big Balls

    You dumb ass niggas only concerned about posting 1st and what not and probably didnt even read the article. Fuck MTV white bastards…but bet your ass I’ll watch the awards 2nte :)

  • jojochicago

    CENSORSHIP! a Vans video? I remember when they wouldn’t show Michael Jackson!

  • A FIRM BELIEVER

    MTV NOT SHOWING JANET JACKSON NO LOVE

  • 5 STAR X-E-Q-SHUN

    fuck the politics @ mtv

  • >>>>>>>>>>ROC

    yo idk but that fukin dead prez video had me fukin dying for about 10 minutes

  • Buddah Bastid

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7SaMSYS4fE

    banned Gravediggaz- Night the Earth Cried too

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  • So South

    MTV IS NOTHING BUT FUCKING COWARDS. AFTER HEARING THE NEWS THAT MOS DEF WAS ARRESTED LAST NIGHT DRIVES ME UP A FUCKING TREE, HE WAS ARRESTED FOR ‘DISORDERLY CONDUCT’ FOR HIS INPROMDUE PERFORMANCE OF ‘KATRINA CLAP’ FOR THE CROWD WAITING OUTSIDE (A’LA DIDDY’S ‘BAD BOY FOR LIFE’ PERFORMANCE FROM A FLATBED TRUCK) AND NOBODY FROM THE NETWORK SHOWED UP TO DEFEND HIM WHEN POLICE CAME TO SHUT HIM DOWN!!! NOW I WONDER, WAS IT BECAUSE IN HIS SONG HE ATTACKS MR.BUSH(Y) OR WAS IT BECAUSE MOS DEF IS A ‘RAPPER’ AND NOT A ‘CELEBRITY’ LIKE MR.MUFF DIDDY THAT THE NETWORK DIDNT SHOW UP TO HIS AID?!?!? EITHER WAY, THIS JUST ADDS TO A LIONG HISTORY OF MTV BLACK-BALLING THE ‘RAP’ INDUSTRY FROM THERE NETWORK IN FAVOR OF ‘HIP-POP’ ACTS SUCH AS DIDDY, LUDACRIS (NO D.R.), EMINEM/50, & LL COOL J!! FUCK MTV!! THEY NEED TO STICK TO WHAT WORKS FOR THEM, DATING SHOWS & TRL (AND A LIL’ NICK CANNON FOR THE ‘URBAN’ AUDIANCE)

  • Enlightened

    One important one was left out in that Race Card section. They banned Goodie Mob’s Dirty South. They said it was because of the little white girl coloring a confederate flag on the concrete. Classic.

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/THECAMPORR f.e.n

    they even canceld camillionair interview on racial profiling. t.v. tries to stay far ass hell from real shit.

  • SANLEANDRO510

    If sombody said “Fuck Mtv black bastards” what would happen?????

    Your words are too big for your little balls

    Dont disrespect

  • NYC

    the Pack Vid is a fuckin shame… Hope they got $$$

  • Rodjilius

    dats why i dont like watchin videoz on mtv too much

  • john cochran

    MTV IS NOT FOR US(BY US I MEAN THE HIP HOP CULTURE, MAINLY BLACK YOUTH). THATS WHAT YOU GUYS DONT UNDERSTAND. ITS FOR WHITE AMERICA. THATS WHAT IT WAS MADE FOR AND THATS WHAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE. LOOK AT ITS SHOWS. DO YOU WATCH 8TH AND OCEAN,NEXT, OR MY SUPER SWEET 16? I DONT THINK SO.

  • Belize

    Good shit

    in a perfect world you would shut down mtv

  • COLOMBIAN

    SOMEBODY NEEDS TO SLAP MTV IN THE FACE A COMPLAINT CARD. PLEASE DONT BELIEVE THAT MTV IS TARGETING EVERY RANGE OF AUDIENCE THERE IS. YOU KNOW IT, I KNOW, WE ALL KNOW IT. AND THAT IS THAT THEY TARGET RICH LITTLE WHITE KIDS FOR ALL THEIR SHOWS. IF THEY WANTED TO APPEAL TO EVERYBODY, THEY WOULD MAKE A SHOW CALLED “MY SORRY ASS 16TH…A B-DAY CARD WIT NO MONEY”. THAT WOULD BE TRUE LIFE.

  • Black April

    MTV continues to alienate the Black community with their refusal to play videos that, quite frankly, are too real for the desk sitters to understand. The Public Enemy video about Arizona and MLK Day is an important issue at the time and MTV continues not to allow itself to be touched by that. If it were me, I would have taken a stand and played that video to present a message to the Black community that I did agree with them on that manner; it might’ve potentially helped their ratings. The whole issue about not playing hip-hop songs about f*cken shoes is beyond me. Actually, thinking back, when Bow-Wow remixed his song “Fresh Azimiz” with Mike Jones, they bleeped Mike Jones saying the date of his album. That just puts me over the top. All Black people should just stop watching MTV and support BET instead even though they sold themselves to the White man (now owned by Viacom, the same company that owns CBS).

  • shawna

    shit i don’t live in the states but i can say that y’all need to start thinkin abt more important things than what is banned from tv n what not,.. besides all the videos (from black artists)is mostly about some chicks showing ass and boobs.. damn straight they’re gonna censor that… get over urself… ignorant ppl.. just tired of it

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  • hex

    no seriously the vans song is nuts, and pass the courvoicier was a huge hit, yet chevy ridin’ high does mention a pruduct if i’m not right (cars more importantly chevys) and MTV sucks they need to look at more professional chanels like much music and BET sometimes, fags this article was made to be hated

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=1224 andrew b

    good stuff. good read too.

  • Mrs.Jones

    WHOA THATZ CRAZY..THATS MY SONG THE PACK “VANS”

  • Loc to tha Brain

    Fuck mtv Bring back UNCUT

  • Nutzo

    I can’t beleave they didnt put get at me dog on there cuz mtv refused to play that video unless dmx re did the song

  • e.n.beezy

    FUCK TODAYS RAP MUZIK… It totally whack. Who gives a fuck about MTV BET matter of fact who gives a fuck about TV period. Turn off the TV, build a pc from scratch and get your news from the internet. Remove these crackas from power and rap music will be pure again.

  • INTERSCOPE JACKSON

    ^^^^ Calm down you faggot

  • hollywood

    I am old school. There are a few other joints that were banned back in the day. Compton’s Most Wanted “One Time Gaffled’em up” show police kicking black folks ass. Straight Outta Compton NWA and Throw Your Gunz In The Air by Onyx were supposedly too violent to air

  • Tarheel-Greensboro/336

    Yall cant say BET doesnt do the same, they banned Little Brother’s song, Lovin It because they said the song was too smart for thier audience

  • tanaka

    oh my fucking god, i am getting fucking sick of this shit. blacks are left out of this and blacks are banned from mtv and mtv doesnt make shows for black people wah wah wah dont fuckin cry. you are the most racist race on earth, ur biggest role models are fuckin racist bitches- kanye west, spike lee. u black bitches dont like mtv, dont like eminem. dont fuckin watch mtv then faggots, of course it wasnt made for blacks, why when there is only 12%. go and fuckin watch BET which was made for u and stop fuckin complaining. u bitches act all hard and tough but u do is fuckin moan and dont do shit. hell u tried to invent a new racist word for white people to fight da n-word. cracka (whip cracka?) LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEE

  • http://xxlmag.com Michelae

    First off, to tha dumb ass bitches that said that stupid shit (Shawnna and Tanaka)grow tha fuck up. Shawnna, you don’t live in the US so you don’t know how certain issues effect our culture, so go kick rocks or somethin. Tanaka, ur racist and stupid as hell. There’s dumbasses in every race so shut tha fuck up. What you said wasn’t funny. Besides, the whole MTV issue is deeper than that. It’s not about T&A and dirty words, it’s aboout equal representation and displaying the country how it really is. How many ppl u know have $9,999,999,999,999.62 birthday parties thrown by their parents? Only the ones on MTV. Tha channel don’t even represent white ppl right, so how can u say what u said. Shawnna and Tanaka, get a life, read a book, grow tha fuck up, and shut up. Y’all have not a clue what ur talkin about!

  • JML

    I agree with the earlier comment “fuck mtv black/white debate” it doesnt apply here…The majority of videos shown on mtv networks are urban videos-

    There virtually no rock on the channel…so dont play the race card…its a censorship card ultimately…and the vans ban is about as ignorant as can be…if “The Pack” were Busta it would get rotations…but there not and MTV is about ducuts- Record sales are what get MTV to play a video and unestablished new artists are at the absolute bottom of the pile…They have no love for the little man-unless kayne or pharell will attach there name to them, then their all about it…sell outs (mtv-not KW and PW)…
    Anyways- about the professionalism of (BET or Much Music) their systems are flawed equally- BET uses the most archaic Tape format machines (Beta and 3/4 inch tape) resulting in the poorest representation of what the videos actually look like…Theres not even true black in the letterbox of most videos…As for MM, they give no props to the directors(the creators) of these videos- How hard is it to enter another line of text on the title card for the video- Directors put there heart and souls into this work and deserve the recognition…but thats my tangent…

    Everyone should send complaints to MTV networks via email- Squeaky wheel gets the oil…

  • http://www.myspace.com/donnygoines Donny Goines

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    http://www.myspace.com/donnygoines

    Listen to song and read blog for explanation. 1

  • DRizza

    Funny shit is Fab Five Freddy MTV host did the Brand Nubian video Wake up and it didnt get played. Cant even tell you how mad cats were at him thinking he of all people would know what could and couldnt get played!

  • http://www.myspace.com/jonnielasvegas JonnieLasVegas aka ColdSteel

    Yea it’s bullshit the way they politic at mtv. I ain’t watched mtv in years, fa real. I’ll watch bet occasionally, but they treat latinos the same way mtv treats hip hop. SHITTY!!! So I guess I gotta wait for mtv3(latin version)or whatever it’s called. Fuckin’ america always thinkin’ in black & white.

  • Kez

    This is way i like BET Better

  • Black Dude From Alabama

    Mainstream Television as a whole is not designed for African Americans and lower class White people. It is a marketing tool to sell anything that comes to mind to people who has the least money. Of course political or “Black” consciousness will never be valued on television because only a ‘certain’ type of people owns the major networks. MTV is smart though, putting a black woman in charge is a great insurance plan incase anyone ever wanted to really address this issue,(I just wish that black people will push to change the name of BET to TWT- Time Waster Television.)