The fact that they’re happening in person this year (in New York City, of all places) is probably the most VMA-move of all time.
Among the measures all parties involved have aligned to include extensive social distancing procedures, meaningful capacity limitations, the virtualization of components where possible, and limited capacity or no audience.
Of course, the most significant moments in VMA history aren’t very good examples of social distancing.
But it’s still a good thing the show is happening in person because “traditional” VMA performances are significant spectacles.
What I’m hoping is that they’re empowered to do what they do, which is entertain – because I think the stars have felt stifled this year.
Comedies, gangster movies, and musicals helped people forget their troubles.
Entertainers can capture the same essence during the current cultural crisis – and the VMAs are the perfect place to start.
Three years ago, Jolanda Woods’s husband, Robert Woods, who was forty-two, began working at a Dollar General on Grand Boulevard, across from an abandoned grocery store.
The Gun Violence Archive, a Web site that uses local news reports and law-enforcement sources to tally crimes involving firearms, lists more than two hundred violent incidents involving guns at Family Dollar or Dollar General stores since the start of 2017, nearly fifty of which resulted in deaths.
The number of incidents can be explained in part by the stores’ ubiquity: there are now more than sixteen thousand Dollar Generals and nearly eight thousand Family Dollars in the United States, a fifty-per-cent increase in the past decade.
By 1972, they had five hundred stores, and, a few years later, around the time that Cal, Sr., passed the reins to Cal, Jr., they started buying up other chains, also in small towns, extending the company far from its upland-South base.