When MTV first aired in 1981 you didn’t see any black artist.  MTV and black music have had a rocky history. When MTV first aired their format was rock based and black music just didn’t fit the format.  Even though the network played no black artist they did have an African American VJ J.J. Jackson. Jackson just happens to be the last name of the first black artist on MTV.  Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video was the first video by a black artist to air on MTV.  Enjoy!