13 of the Most Censored Music Videos and the Reasoning Behind It

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Popular music is no longer just a pleasure to the ear as it used to be; it has become a number-one teaser to the eye and a legitimate vent for our incessant secret desires. 

The music industry of today has turned into a race which is most often won by those who know how to shock the audience. What with all the booties shaking, drug snorting, guns flashing, cars speeding…

For more than three decades now many artists have been balancing between the highly demanding requirements of the business to deliver an attractive product and the pending threat that too much sex, violence, and drugs will get them into trouble. 

With that being said, here are 13 music videos from the last 15 years that underwent drastic censorship.

13. Nicki Minaj – Anaconda (2014)

Lap dancing, skimpy outfits, intense shaking-baking-booty-quaking… A television censor must be blind and numb at the same time to fail to notice such a drastic breach of le bon ton! 

Two years ago, the video broke Vevo’s 24-hour streaming record by accumulating 19.6 million views only on the first day of its release. Besides, the song was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards. Despite the positive reviews, however, the song received many negative reactions. 

The arguments for censoring the video were based on solid accusations– it promoted prostitution, drug abuse, and immorality to young females. 

In February 2015, YouTube released a “clean” version of the video, which they promoted with the following line, “Now you can listen to ‘Anaconda’ with your family!” Sure, except the kids in the family had long before watched the uncensored version of the dreadful “snake”.


12. Rihanna – Man Down (2010)

This time the bad guy in the picture is not the notorious BET, because the real instigator of all the drama around this video was started by the Parents Television Council. 

On the background of a heartening reggae beat, Rihanna sings about getting even for a rape by shooting the sexual offender in the head. The rape itself isn’t shown in detail, but the shot in the head is! The above mentioned Parent Council reacted at lightning speed and appealed to BET and MTV to stop it from airing. 

When Rihanna received the news, she was beside herself with rage and replied with an infuriated tweet: “U can’t hide your kids from society, or they’ll never learn how to adapt. This is THE REAL WORLD!” 

BET refused to pull the video, and although no actual censorship has been implemented, Rihanna is still called a victim of the false morality of today.

11. Eminem – Just Lose It (2000)

The white boy who dared to challenge the origins and foundations of the hip-hop culture and industry has never restrained himself from delivering powerful provocations to go with his messages. Sometimes, however, he’ll go too far in making a point and this, of course, won’t leave those affected by him indifferent. 

In his 2004 video, there is a moment when we see a noseless Michael Jackson impersonator on a bed, surrounded by children. Jacko reacted instantly and called this depiction of him “inappropriate and disrespectful”. 

Black Entertainment Television (BET) stepped in and resolved the case by deciding to ban the video. 

10. Christina Aguilera – Dirrty (2002)

There was a hidden intention behind the creation of this video. At some point, Aguilera got so fed up with how people had been manipulating her image that she finally decided to gain control over her own persona and portray it as it truly is. The result was this R&B and hip-hop song, which seemingly features people engaged in sport activities such as mud wrestling. But it is, in fact, about sex. 

As planned, the video did put an end to her image as bubblegum teen sweetheart, but it also received tons of critical comments in news publications and from other artists. 

In Thailand, it was banned because they claimed to have seen signs in the background, with Aguilera dancing in the boxing ring, that hinted at illegal sex trafficking in their country. Translated from Thai, the signs read, “Thailand’s sex tourism” and “Young underage girls”. Of course, Aguilera denied knowing what those inscriptions behind her meant, but nevertheless, the video was banned from airing in Thailand.

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