Video Music Awards to return to Barclays Center with ‘limited or no audience’: Cuomo

MTV silence about Video Music Awards has locals scared of a VM-ess
Barclays Center in Prospect Heights
File photo by Paul Martinka

The state will permit MTV to hold its Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on August 30, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press briefing Monday.

The cable channel’s annual award show for the best music videos features performances from chart-topping artists and it’s 36th edition will take place at the Atlantic Avenue arena with “all safety guidance, including limited or no audience,” according to Cuomo.

MTV’s prospects to hold the event at the Prospect Heights venue were first reported by Variety in late May.

In a press release following the governor’s announcement, MTV said they will implement “extensive” social distancing, limit capacity, and make some shows virtual where possible. The company statement echoed Cuomo, saying the event might also impose a limit on attendees or have no in-person audiences. 

The cable station will announce more details as the data on the virus for the Empire State becomes clearer, the statement said. 

One senior official from MTV’s parent company Viacom said that the firm was delighted to return to the city. 

“We’re elated to bring the 2020 ‘VMAs’ back to NYC, the cultural mecca of the world where music and entertainment are woven into the DNA,” said Viacom’s president of music, music talent, programming, and events, Bruce Gillmer in a statement. 

The VMAs rolled out the red carpet at Barclays Center once before in 2013 — a year after the stadium’s opening.

The festivities included memorable moments, such as singer Miley Cyrus twerking and crotch-grabbing in a furry leotard and Katy Perry performing her hit single “Roar” underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

The chief executive officer for Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets said the award show will be a fitting blow-out for the arena, after months of being closed. 

“The 2020 MTV VMAs will be the first Barclays Center event since the COVID-19 pandemic reached New York,” said Oliver Weisberg in a statement. “We’re very excited to once again host this legendary night of music, and are especially proud of the impact it will have on our Brooklyn community through the creation of local jobs.”

While Barclays Center itself has been closed, the plaza in front of it at the corner of Flatbush Avenue has become the epicenter of Black Lives Matter protests in Brooklyn during the past month, with local journalist Norman Oder calling it the borough’s “accidental town square.”