Move On from Miley Cyrus
You might get mad at me for saying this, but I am not an iota outraged by Miley Cyrus.
The girl is a fallen Disney princess with daddy issues who isn’t old enough to rent a car in many places.
She has been engaged for about 200 years and is regularly lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” for sounding like a drunken Chipette.
I am not shocked that she climbed onto the stage at the VMAs and acted a clown, wearing what looked like the hide of Chuck E. Cheese.
I’ll let Paula Patton check her for turning the Beetlejuice doppelganger, Thicke, into her own personal salt lick.
Pointing out how silly, unsexy and ridiculous she looked was entertaining…and yes, she deserved to be taken to task for what was actually an awful performance. But we don’t need to burn her in online effigy or sign a change.org petition to put her in racial sensitivity training.
Instead, we should move on from her and deal with other, more serious problems. Why? Well, it boils down to five simple reasons.
1. Priorities, people.
African-American images in the media are important. As a card-carrying member of the National Association of Black Journalists and someone who has covered race and media for years, I know this, trust. But we certainly have more important priorities at this moment. I could go on and on, but let’s begin with stop-and-frisk policies, stand-your-ground laws and the seeming mission to disenfranchise African-Americans.
Here we stand in 2013, the era of the iPhone, YouTube and electric cars, and we still have misguided politicians telling us to assimilate into Whiteness. We still have people out here who think Trayvon Martin deserved to die because he was wearing a hoodie and being Black in an otherwise homogenous community. And Rush Limbaugh is still talking mess. Okay, next reason…
2. This train wreck has long been in the making.
We all remember the unicorn twerk act that was somehow allowed to pass muster, but do you also recall when this chick, as apparently inspired by 2 Chainz, said she wanted a “big booty hoe” for her birthday…and then got it, in the form of an actual factual human being? Cyrus then grabbed onto that “gifted” derrier like she was holding onto a life preserver during a shipwreck.
Yes, Miley’s obsession with the sexy curves of African-American women is more associated with strip clubs and ratchet trap music, so it’s no surprise she’d get up and simulate sex acts with a faceless Black donk onstage. Just as importantly, she is far from the only White female artist with a hankering for the stripper trope that radio rappers have elevated for a decade. That washed up Lil’ Debbie tried the same shenanigans and this hot mess has nearly 1 million views.
3. Let’s focus some of our ire on those who say she, and other out-of-pocket artists, is acting “Black.”
I cannot twerk. I don’t care to twerk. I’m good on the category of twerking, thanks to the attention-starved antics of women on YouTube, Instagram and I’m browner than brown sugar with the kinky coils to match. Therefore, I am most offended by goofs on Twitter admonishing Miley to stop “acting Black” when it’s clear she is just acting like a fool.
They are worse than she is because they assume that certain attributes, which we would call ratchet, are synonymous with African heritage. This also goes for Sharon Osbourne who has her nerve for recently saying that Justin Bieber– at the height of his spitting, fighting, and shirt-off silliness– doesn’t realize he is White.
What did the Osbourne matriarch mean? That he forgot his khakis and button-up at home? He didn’t know he could apply for, and get, home loans? He has the right not to be followed through department stores. Please. This type of bigoted thought process is a problem.
4. Rappers aid and abet in this debacle. Daily.
You think Miley used MTV as a platform to debase Black women? Okay, let’s rewind back to 2003, when Snoop Dogg/Lion brought a bunch of Black women on leashes onto the stage at the VMAs. He was accompanied by 50 Cent as well as an actual pimp who had given himself a rather holy-sounding moniker of Bishop Don Magic Juan. If that doesn’t drive the point home, the song was called “P.I.M.P.”
I’m sure Black Twitter would have spayed and neutered the lot of them, but as it stood, the outcry didn’t seem as loud or angry as it does in the Miley case. I am in no way cutting Billy Ray’s daughter any slack for her objectification of Black women, but to hear more of the same, just turn on any so-called urban radio station in any city and listen to Lil’ Wayne, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, and even some of our supposed cerebral MCs, including Drake and J Cole, do about the same.
We laugh at soft-as-a-dryer sheet Drake, but my man has instructed women to “bus’ it like they can’t afford a car.” And regarding Ross, he had to go all the way to date rape lyrics to stoke up outrage, though he has been speaking about women like they were no more human than Maybachs since he stepped onto the scene. Kanye West isn’t exactly in my good graces right now, thanks to his misappropriation of the cultural wake-up call “Strange Fruit” to make this thirsty anthem on “Yeezus.” So, if we want to start a Miley-cott, these disrespectful rap artists better be in trouble, too.
5. We aid and abet in this debacle. Daily.
I’ve heard some stirring, and important arguments, that what is known as twerking is actually a dance rooted in the African diaspora; however, the foolishness we are seeing on YouTube is not an homage to Josephine Baker or Sarah Baartman–so stop it now. It’s a sexualized come-get-some dance souped up on stripper juice and spliced with radio rap.
And while it may be appealing to the men it is clearly aimed at titillating, both the performer and the viewing audience need to take responsibility for the notion that when you put it out there, you can’t control where it goes or who picks it up. It’s the same argument I use for the proliferation of the n-word, which is now in the process of being (ahem) taken back, at least according to folk including struggle comic Tim Allen and self-appointed lifestyle guru/actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Last I checked, there was no licensing process for booty popping. Because if there were, Miley wouldn’t be holding so much as a learner’s permit, not even if she agreed to strict supervision from the Twerk Team.
So, there you have it. I am done with Miley. I look forward to any actual solutions to stop the objectification of Black women that do not involve dragging this Disney dud and her soiled unicorn costume through the Interwebs for the 80th time. #moveonfrommiley