Archives For 2015 MTV Video Music Awards

He was tired and calling in from another time zone, but given the past week and a half he had, you would never know Omi was a little worse for the wear.

Let’s rewind to August 29. There’s Taylor Swift, performing in front of a sold out crowd in San Diego’s Petco Park. In true T-Swift form, she brings out a surprise guest in the form of the Jamaican-born artist. They perform the summer-smash “Cheerleader” together, and the place goes nuts.

“I was honored that she would ask me to come through and do that,” Omi, nee Omar Pasley, told me of the chance to share a stage with the world’s biggest pop star. “She’s such a good person. She’s a real person, and I think that’s most important.”

Next up: the following evening. Omi found himself among music’s biggest stars at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.

“Being in the same environment with all of the different stars and people in the business who have really paved the way and who have really left a mark… just sitting in the same room with them is such an honor,” he remarked of his first VMA experience. “I’m just humbled by the experience man.”

And Omi was eventually bestowed quite the honor, but not before turning 29 on September 3.

“I didn’t do much,” the singer replied when I asked how he celebrated the birthday. “I’m not really much of a party guy.”

Oh, the irony – just five days later Billboard named “Cheerleader” the “Song of the Summer,” as it topped it’s chart of singles monitored from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“There’s so much to remember, but most of all, what position the fans and my team put me in,” he said of the memories he’ll carry from the summer of 2015. “That’s the greatest thing I’m going to remember – just being in this position but because of the people who put me there.”

Omi’s follow-up to his worldwide platinum hit is another fun number called, “Hula Hoop.” It serves as the second single from his debut album, Me 4 U, due out October 16.

In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva picked out a prevalent trend from the MTV VMAs red carpet: showing some leg.


Visit Trend Hungry to find the latest fashion 411 on a skinny budget, and catch Jessie every Tuesday evening on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Photo: instagram.com/gigihadid

Photo: instagram.com/gigihadid

A celebrity beef squashed while another was allegedly started. A host spewing many expletives but for most of the show, not wearing nearly as many articles of clothing. A crying pop star. A presidential campaign announced.

And in between, a few solid performances and a couple of awards.

The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards contained a bit of everything Sunday night. Live from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, the network’s flagship broadcast set Twitter ablaze and caused more of a dumpster fire when the ratings came out.

Perhaps a large chunk of the decline in viewership can be attributed to the host. No one knew what to expect from Miley Cyrus, and afterwards the correct response would have been “not much.” There is a certain ebb-and-flow to hosting live television and it is a skill that doesn’t come easy to many; thus the reason why a guy like Seacrest gets paid so much to do it.

The VMAs averaged about five million viewers on MTV according to Nielsen, down 39 percent from last year.

But offer credit where it is deserved: Sunday night’s VMAs set a U.S. Twitter record for a non-sports TV broadcast with 2.2 million people generating over 21 million tweets. That can probably also be attributed to Cyrus, who surprised everyone by closing out the show and releasing an album online for free at its conclusion.

Oh, and the awards. Taylor Swift took home four, including Video Of The Year for the cameo-filled “Bad Blood” featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar. Of course Swift showed up with her “squad” in tow, including model Karlie Kloss and fellow singer Selena Gomez.

An outdoor stage set-up downtown provided some of the best musical moments of the night – Macklemore offered up a theatrical rendition of his new single “Downtown,” Demi Lovato received some assistance from surprise guest Iggy Azalea on “Cool For The Summer,” and Pharrell Williams struck a vastly different tone than most of the show with his performance of “Freedom.”

Inside, Justin Bieber returned to the VMA stage. The 21 year-old performed a medley of “Where Are U Now” and his latest single, “What Do You Mean?” Following the performance, Bieber was seen visibly weeping on stage. Reaction seemed to be generally positive, especially considering what has happened in the five years since he last performed at the VMAs.
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Kanye West was there and relatively speaking was well behaved. MTV bestowed upon West the Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement, and rightfully so. But of course, it did not come without spectacle: Once-foe-now-friend Swift presented him to the stage and West followed with a rambling speech in which he both trashed award shows and admitted he had smoked weed beforehand.

He finished the rant by announcing that in 2020 he would seek the Oval Office. Then, he dropped the mic. Not surprising and certainly fitting.

Last Friday I spoke on the phone with Ryan Sheckler. The professional skateboarder and former MTV reality star was in New York City for a Nike SB Street League Skateboarding competition at Newark’s Prudential Center. Towards the end of the interview, I asked Sheckler about the photo Justin Bieber tweeted of the skater to promote Bieber’s new single, “What Do You Mean?” Sheckler noted that he counts the pop star as a good friend of his.

“We did like two music videos yesterday,” he revealed. “We skated a mini-ramp for… damn, it was probably like two hours and we just got to rap out by ourselves.

“He’s a really cool kid. A lot of people have their opinions about the dude but he’s a solid guy and yeah, he’s one of my homies.”

Both of the clips they filmed last week have seen the light of day: Sheckler is featured prominently in the new lyric video for Bieber’s new single, which hit iTunes Friday. The music video also contains a Sheckler cameo.

“What Do You Mean?” does not pick up where singles like “As Long As You Love Me” and “Beauty And A Beat” left off. The track does have a flavor of electronic dance music in the synths but with a ticking-clock and piano, the vibe is much more “on the beach” than South Beach. While it’s not a complete departure, the 21 year-old does deserve some credit for taking a chance with a different vibe as opposed to simply hiring a well-known producer and song-writer to help craft the perfect pop hit.

Bieber performed his new single Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards.

It may simply be a reflection of the times in the music industry more than anything else: a MTV Video Music Award nominee told by the network that he would have to buy his own ticket to the award show.

Actually at first, nominated director Josh Forbes couldn’t even get MTV on the line. When he did connect, the outlet informed him that directors have to buy their own ticket. The cost would range from $450 to $800, depending on where he wanted to sit.

“That doesn’t make any sense. If the director is nominated for a VMA shouldn’t he get a ticket to the VMAs?” Forbes asked on a GoFundMe page he started. “Yes he should. But he doesn’t.”

It’s a little ridiculous: MTV, which barely even plays videos, still holds this annual event to celebrate the videos they don’t play and they can’t even comp the directors that create the art in the first place.

As Forbes also writes on his GoFundMe page though, the idea that directors have to pay their way in is probably more of a nod to the way things used to be than the big giant trying to screw the little guy. Record labels typically cover the costs like this, but naturally those budgets have also shifted with the times.

The Colorado-based director has made music videos for the past decade and also counts Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” in his credits. His heartfelt explanation and plea via GoFundMe yielded big dividends, to the tune of $2,500. By doubling his goal, Forbes now plans to bring his wife along to the VMAs, along with calling an Uber to get to-and-from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

“Artists and filmmakers get taken advantage of because we’re sensitive people,” Forbes explained in a follow-up post, thanking donors for their generosity.” “We’re not always that great at getting our needs met and valuing our work properly because we’d be doing this for fun anyway. The truth is, the world needs us. And our work is extremely valuable. And I feel this value right now in every donation.”

Regardless of if Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up And Dance” wins the Moonman for “Best Rock Video,” its director scored the top prize.

In this edition of Weekend Scoop, InStyle Magazine Senior Editor Sharon Clott Kanter chatted about MTV’s redesigned Moonman award ahead of next weekend’s VMAs and Ellen DeGeneres’ new collaboration with Gap.
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Even when Taylor Swift is wrong, she eventually gets it right.

The pop star is no stranger to controversy, deservedly or not. But we’ve grown accustomed to Swift not only entering the fray on her own terms: penning a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, removing her music from Spotify, opining to Apple Music via Tumblr – but also entering in order to right a perceived wrong. Swift set out to correct a few misnomers with her latest album, one of which was that albums still have value.

“I’ve always been very optimistic about music sales and album sales, and to have that optimism kind of rewarded with people going out and buying the album; I was so happy about it,” Swift told me last October, the week she released 1989. “Yunno, I would look a little ridiculous if I was just going out for the last two years going, ‘No, people still care about albums!’ And then my album comes out and everybody’s like, ‘Well we don’t care about yours.’”

Over five million albums sold later, it’s clear they care. The LP has also spawned a few GRAMMY nominations, a slew of hardware at May’s Billboard Music Awards and now nine MTV Video Music Award nods. All but one of Swift’s nominations are for the “Bad Blood” music video, which premiered at the start of the aforementioned BBMAs and features Kendrick Lamar a slew of celebrities/Swift’s “squad.” The piece broke Vevo’s 24-hour view record, previously held by Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video.

But unlike “Bad Blood,” Minaj’s video didn’t receive a “Video Of The Year” look. Enter, controversy.

Minaj took to Twitter and voiced her displeasure over the snub, noting that when “’other’ girls drop a video that breaks records” and it “celebrates women with very slim bodies,” you receive a VOTY nomination.

Swift perceived the tweets as a direct jab and responded by reminding Minaj that she’s done “nothing but love and support” her, and that it’s unlike the rapper “to pit women against each other.” The “Shake It Off” singer later tweeted that she would want Minaj to join her on stage if “Bad Blood” wins.

However for once, Swift was wrong. Minaj didn’t care about “Bad Blood” and probably isn’t overly concerned with winning another Moonman. The emcee was speaking to the racial and social injustices that still exist in the music industry.

“I just think we need to have both images for girls,” Minaj told “Good Morning America” Friday. “We can’t have only one type of body being glorified in the media because it just makes girls even more insecure than we already are.”

And if anyone gets that, it’s Swift, who is about as a good of a role model as you’ll find in the public for young women. According to Minaj, the two singers spoke on the phone and cleared the air. Swift also apologized on Twitter.
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“I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke,” she wrote. “I’m sorry, Nicki.”

Taylor was right. Again.