It is funny to hear the host’s corny jokes and see the artists’ creativity in their music and performances at the MTV Video Music Awards. However, there was one performance in particular that stood out from all the rest this year.
Popular rap artist Logic was joined on stage by featured artists Alessia Cara and newly-voted Best New Artist Khalid for a performance of his latest hit “1-800-273-8255,” a song that has been on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart for over 19 consecutive weeks.
At the very end of Khalid’s verse, Logic took the microphone and gave a very powerful speech over the tail-end of the instrumental. With a crowd of survivors of suicide attempts and family members of people who have lost someone to suicide behind him, Logic bellowed a sincere message of hope, love, tolerance and drive to stand up for the equality of all people regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
The title of the song is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which sets the song’s subject on someone struggling with suicidal thoughts and a representative answering their call for help. Logic’s speech was one incredible display of kindness by such a respected master of ceremonies. He preceded the base of his message with a statement that mainstream media does not cover mental health issues like suicide and depression enough. Why does mainstream media prefer not to address it?
There are several explanations for this, but the most obvious answer lies in the old saying used to describe what kinds of content get the most attention out of all news types: “Sex sells.”
If it is not something incredibly flashy, hyped-up or daring, hard news stories can get overlooked if there is a story right next to it pertaining to a juicy new report about what celebrity had a mental breakdown at anevent yesterday or what politician may have just been exposed for a scandal with their new secretary. This explains why the publicly featured Snapchat stories are mostly filled with tidbits on dating or sex tips, or include links to videos of someone doing something embarrassing on the internet.
Reading about mental health issues just does not seem to be as interesting to most people as other gossipy, stories do. Otherwise, these sensitive, yet important topics would be covered far more.
People frequently covered in mainstream media are expected to never have thoughts of suicide or depression, which in turn places a stigma on such conditions and forces these stories out of even the most popular news outlets.
Logic’s new hit and matching VMA performance is exactly the wake-up call that mainstream media needs. Everyone is capable of experiencing bad thoughts, and the subject should not be skipped-over as much as it is in today’s news agenda.