MTV Turns Forty: I Still Want My MTV

  • GRAMMY Museum MS 800 W Sunflower Rd Cleveland, Mississippi 38732
  • May 13, 2021 Through May 31, 2023
  • TUES - SAT: 10 AM - 5 PM
    SUNDAY: 12 PM - 3 PM

The first major exhibition to be curated by the GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi team, MTV Turns Forty will explore the history of the iconic music brand—from the role of native Mississippian, Bob Pittman, in the concept and execution of an idea that revolutionized the music industry and, to why, nearly four decades later, people across the world still scream, “I want my MTV.” MTV Turns Forty is sponsored in part by the Maddox Foundation. Exhibit partners include MTV and Hard Rock International. Additional support is provided by corporate sponsors DittyTV, Entergy, and Millsaps College in Mississippi.

Exhibit highlights include:

  • Interviews and artifacts from the four remaining original MTV VJs
  • Interview footage, notes, sketches, and more about the idea for MTV from Bob Pittman and John Sykes, members of the "Initial 8"  MTV executive team
  • Artifacts and Memorabilia from Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Sting, Run DMC, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and more
  • Spotlights on many of the pivotal moments in MTV’s programming history from Yo! MTV Raps! and MTV Unplugged to Beavis and Butt-Head and Jersey Shore
  • ​​​​​​​Initial exhibit sketches from the late Lucy Janoush, founding Board Member of the Mississippi Museum
  • Interactives and more...

Aug. 1, 1981, was the day that forever changed music and television. It was the day that, just shortly after midnight, MTV debuted with these words spoken by co-creator John Lack, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,” followed by the broadcast of the very first music video to air on TV, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. 

“I’m pleased and proud that my home state of Mississippi is hosting an exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of MTV,” 

Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc.

Pittman led the team that created and launched MTV in 1981. “Mississippi and MTV are two of the great formative influences in my life, and I’m delighted that they’re coming together for this anniversary celebration," Pittman states. 

The idea for a special exhibit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of MTV was started with the late Lucy Janoush, founding Board Member of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, who continued to plot out her idea for the exhibit during her last days before passing away in 2017.

“We are so thrilled to be marking this special moment in music history with an exhibit at our Museum,” said Emily Havens, Executive Director for GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. “What many may not know is MTV has deep roots here in Mississippi as one of its creators, Bob Pittman, is a native of Jackson. In addition, this exhibit wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for our late, dear friend and first Chair of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi Board, Lucy Janoush. Prior to her passing in 2017, Lucy was sketching out her idea for an exhibit that would celebrate 40 years of MTV. We are grateful to Bob Pittman, Tom Pittman, Hard Rock International and everyone at MTV for helping us bring Lucy’s idea to life.”

Emily Havens, Executive Director

MTV Turns Forty: I Still Want My MTV will debut at the Mississippi Museum on May 14, 2021, and will be on display through summer 2022, with plans to travel the exhibit nationally and internationally.