5 Groundbreaking Black Music Videos

Thanks to MJ's "Bille Jean," the music-video revolution was televised.

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    A&M; The Gold Mine/Elektra; Virgin

    For ’80s and ’90s babies, there are few things more certain than the influence of the ever-salient music video on pop culture. They were central to our consumption of pop music, and they continue to inform our collective nostalgia. Plus, they were just fun as hell to watch.

    Billie Jean,” which was the video that finally made MTV break their rock ‘n’ roll-only programming format, started it all, and this list could easily be an MJ-only compilation (“Thriller,”Bad,” “Black or White,” “Remember the Time” … I could go on.). However, a long trail of groundbreaking videos lie in the wake of “Billie Jean,” and here are a few for your reminiscing pleasure, in no particular rank.   

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    Janet Jackson, "The Pleasure Principle" (1987)

    No background dancers. No love interest. Just Janet, a chair, a mirror and some dope choreography. Jackson won two MTV awards with this one, and also made Cassie’s career — if you can call it that — possible.

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    MC Hammer, "U Can't Touch This" (1990)

    Before this, you had never seen a rapper with so many background dancers. Or harem pants, for that matter.

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    The Gold Mine/Elektra

    Missy Elliott, "The Rain" (1997)

    In keeping with the times, Missy basically said, “If I have to wear a shiny suit, mine is gonna be a trash bag.” And with that, she gave us this.

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    Bad Boy

    Diddy, "Victory" (1998)

    It’s basically an eight-minute-long movie that cost nearly $3 million, making it one of the most expensive music videos of all time. Oh, Dennis Hopper and Danny DeVito were in it, too.

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    D'Angelo, "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" (2000)

    After the video dropped, I found listening to the song on the radio to be slightly pointless. I can’t be the only one.

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