Stanley Crouch in the New York Daily News:
Last week, MTV celebrated its 25th anniversary, marking a quarter of a century after having conceived of the first actually new thing in popular television entertainment since “American Bandstand” and “Soul Train.”
The music video became a big deal through MTV and not only updated the old “soundies” once shown in movie theaters to feature singers and instrumentalists. It also revolutionized the making of films by acclimating its audience to the extremely fast crosscutting that had been pioneered in television commercials, where the faster the message arrived, the better. In the process, the MTV audience learned to see much more quickly and recognize what sometimes quite surreal montages were saying or what they were alluding to – no small accomplishment.
Of course, that is not the whole story of MTV, which also came to project the most dehumanizing images of black people since the dawn of minstrelsy in the 19th century. Pimps, whores, potheads, dope dealers, gangbangers, the crudest materialism and anarchic gang violence were broadcast around the world as “real” black culture.