DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince Win First-Ever MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video – Today in Hip-Hop
XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Sept. 6, 1989: The 1989 MTV Video Music Awards got a major overhaul in comparison to its previous years when new categories forBest Rap Video, Best Heavy Metal Video, Best Dance Video and Best Post-Modern Video were added to the show. On this day in 1989, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith) won the first-ever Best Rap Video award for their song, "Parents Just Don't Understand." This was the first year that rap videos were included in the award show, which went down in Los Angeles and was hosted by Arsenio Hall.
The other nominees for Best Rap Video were Ice-T's "Colors," Kool Moe Dee's "How Ya Like Me Now," MC Hammer's "Turn This Mutha Out" and Tone Lōc's "Wild Thing." But it was DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's playful music video for "Parents Just Don't Understand" that took home the first VMA for Best Rap Video. And deservedly so.
Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince would go on to be pioneers for hip-hop at many award shows. That same year, the guys received the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for "Parents Just Don't Understand." In a major move to show their support for hip-hop, the Philadelphia rapper-producer duo led a boycott of the Grammys that year to show their disdain for not letting the award be televised.
"We boycotted the Grammys that we won in  because they chose not to televise it. A big portion of that was, we were unsure about the longevity of hip-hop," recalled Jazzy Jeff in a 2016 interview with Philly Voice. "To be a part of a genre of music that you could tell that there were other genres of music that kind of turned their nose down to it, like it wasn't legitimate, or it wasn’t credible, there was a group of us that fought for the credibility of the art form."
"So when you have early-on DJs like Rick Dees, who was a very popular DJ [at the time], basically say 'hip-hop is over' or 'hip-hop is dead,' that was a crushing blow to us," he continued. "Fast forward to now, it’s probably one of the biggest-selling art forms out."