MTV took note of the backlash.
Michael Jackson's name is a controversial one to be associated with nowadays. Following the backlash of Leaving Neverland, cancel culture came for Michael Jackson, his music, and his legacy. Although the estate has contested claims, many people that knew him to some capacity have distanced himself from his name -- the latest being MTV.
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It appears as though MTV didn't award Missy Elliott the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award but rather, the Video Vanguard Award. According to Page Six, Michael Jackson's name was quietly removed from the award. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise since it was reported in July that MTV would remove his name from the honor.
Despite MTV's deliberate move to keep Michael Jackson's name away from the award, Missy Elliott still mentioned the late singer's name in her acceptance speech. "The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me,” she said before thanking Janet Jackson.
Earlier this year, Quincy Jones re-named a series of shows from a performance of Michael Jackson classics to "soundtrack of the 80s" after the documentary made its rounds. Drake also tried to dodge any sort of public backlash during his European tour. The rapper's single, "Don't Matter To Me" which includes a posthumous MJ sample, was cut from his setlist.
Along with those two, Weird Al Yankovic also pulled Michael Jackson parody songs from his future performances.