For only the fourth time in its 36 year history, the MTV VMAs will be held outside of New York or Los Angeles, and for the first time, the show is coming to New Jersey.
Newark’s Prudential Center will host the awards show at 9 p.m. on August 26.
“It’s hard to stray too far from New York or LA, but this year, we started to expand and look at other possibilities,” said Bruce Gillmer, VMAs executive producer and global head of music and talent at MTV parent company Viacom. “We’re attracted to Jersey. We’ve talked about it for a number of years, the obvious reason being New Jersey’s rich history culturally.”
Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Queen Latifah and the Fugees—they’re all from New Jersey, and the last two, right from Newark.
“New Jersey probably has more superstars per capita than just about any other state, many of them we’ve been in deep partnerships with since the early days of MTV—some of the most iconic artists of all time,” Gillmer said.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka credits Newark’s opportunity to host the VMAs to the “perfect storm, all the things that have worked together to make this a possibility.”
“I think Newark is close enough to New York and the arts community here is burgeoning. The arena has been incredibly successful,” Baraka said. “Ultimately, this decision had to be made by the executives over at the VMAs, so we’re just grateful for them to see what’s happening in Newark and that they feel like it’s a good place for this to take place.”
Scott O’Neil, chief executive officer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, said he hoped bringing the VMAs to Newark would inspire local kids to work toward their own musical dreams.
“If one great thing comes out of the VMAs coming to the Prudential Center, it’s that maybe there’s that one kid in New Jersey who is going to be inspired, inspired beyond reason, inspired to work hard and dedicate him or herself to music and this great craft so that maybe one day they could be on this very stage here,” O’Neil said.