News: Still In Its Inaugural Year, Jay-Z's Barclays Center Lands Major Event

Monday, Mar 25, 2013 11:30PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Rap mogul Jay-Z has plenty of reason to celebrate as news of MTV's annual Video Music Awards event heading to his Brooklyn Nets' Barclays Center arena later this year has surfaced.

Buzz on the popular awards ceremony making its first return to New York since 2009's Radio City showcase started spreading Monday (March 25).

In a pretty major first, the Barclays Center has snagged the MTV Video Music Awards -- MTV's signature awards show and along with the Movie Awards, the network's single biggest draw of any year. Per MTV: Airing LIVE from Barclays Center on Sunday, Aug. 25, this year's "Video Music Awards" will mark the 30th anniversary of the show and become the first major annual awards show to take place in the borough of Brooklyn. The first VMAs held back in 1984 -- when, yes, there were videos on MTV -- were held at Radio City Music Hall, though the Nokia or Staples in L.A. have been master of ceremonies in recent years. Radio City last had 'em in '09. (Newsday)

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz confirmed the unexpected news via a statement.

"From hip-hop to hipsters, Jay- Z to MGMT, Brooklyn musicians have a long history of dominating the 'spotlight' on MTV. Brooklyn is a cultural Mecca -- the hippest, coolest place for young people across the country, and has played a crucial role in the careers of some of 2013's biggest bands, like Fun. and the Lumineers," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in a statement. "Now, it is only fitting that the first time Brooklyn will ever host a major awards show, we are welcoming the most exciting and talked about spectacle in the music industry ... I'm so thrilled that I'll probably get 'no sleep till Brooklyn' hosts the VMAs!" (Statement)

According to reports, the growingly popular Barclays Center should hopefully spark interest as the Video Music Awards has recently struggled to find consistency in ratings.

The Video Music Awards are a crucial display of MTV's cultural capital, bringing together diverse sides of the music and entertainment industries, creating unexpected interactions between performers (like, say, a famous meeting between Kanye West and Taylor Swift at the 2009 show) and occasionally handing out trophies shaped like astronauts (a reference to a popular MTV ad campaign of long, long ago). But the show could use a little razzle-dazzle in the ratings: last year's awards, hosted by the comedian Kevin Hart, were watched by 6.1 million people, less than half of the 12.4 million who watched in 2011 -- possibly a result of the 2012 show being scheduled on a Thursday, and on the same night as President Obama's nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention. (New York Times)

Last fall, Jay-Z officially opened the arena's doors with an inaugural concert series.

"Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of where I'm from," Hov told the crowd before launching into the hard-hitting "Where I'm From" from his 1997 album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. The homage didn't stop there; next was the Santigold-sampling "Brooklyn We Go Hard" followed by a heartfelt cover of the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Kick in the Door" and then a crowd sing-a-long of Biggie's first hit "Juicy." After stripping off his bubble vest revealing a black Nets jersey with the number four on his chest (to commemorate his own December 4 birthday), the God MC tore through tracks like "99 Problems," "Run This Town" and "Empire State of Mind" one by one. He even threw in a brand-new a cappella freestyle to the crowd's delight. "Shooters on my team,no really I got shooters on my team," he spit, making reference to his part ownership of the Nets and the street ties he still claims to carry. (RapFix)

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