Last night, mainstream culture stopped being polite and started getting real about how comfortable they are appropriating Black culture—to the point where we’re not even really needed anymore, apparently. It was interesting to hear the likes of Macklemore (who beat out Kendrick Lamar and Drake for a rap award) give thoughtful remarks on gay rights, tolerance and equality in the midst of all the whitewashing happening before our eyes. Sure, everyone involved with the VMAs referenced Brooklyn repeatedly, but somewhere along the way it seems like the thought process in planning the event was, “Hey, Brooklyn isn’t as Black as it used to be. Why should the show be?!”
That aside, the show had both its good and hysterically awful moments. All and all, I’d say the biggest winner was the BET Awards. Not only will you find Black culture in its best form on that show, but you’ll also find better samples of White people who know how to replicate it. Better luck next time, MTV. Now let’s get to the good, the bad, and the Miley.
Miley Cyrus’s Off-Beat Mistake
At the beginning of her performance, Miley Cyrus stepped out of a giant replica of the teddy bear Kanye West used to play with and wagged her tongue while giving us Lori Petty realness. That was pretty much the highlight of an otherwise embarrassing performance. Although Miley herself was the biggest joke of the set, you couldn’t help but notice that she was surrounded by a sea of Black women, twerking to the ground with Chewbacca fur attached to their back.
At one point, Miley was slapping the butt of some larger Black women—even going so far as to stick her face in the woman’s booty. Had she passed gas in Billy Ray’s daughter’s face, it would’ve been a fair response to the animalization and eroticizing of Black women’s bodies going on.
To be fair, Miley was making herself just as much of a spectacle, as she spent much of her time bent over, wiggling her flat, pasty butt all over the stage and eventually near Robin Thicke’s crotch. Bless her heart and her rhythm-deficient soul but that is not, nor has it ever been, twerking.
If Miley Cyrus were a nicer culture vulture in the vein of Gwen Stefani or Fergie, I’d probably feel somewhat bad over the big buffoon she’s become. Instead, she’s an obnoxious, self-important and entitled biter, so I can’t do anything but chuckle at how she’s become the class clown of pop. If there’s anyone in her life who truly cares about her, they’ll sit her down and have her watch this performance over and over with the one instruction: never again, sis.
As for Robin Thicke, who didn’t win a damn thing despite having the biggest single of the year, one wonders why he chose to align himself with Cyrus. Perhaps it was related to the realization that he may never enjoy this kind of mainstream attention again so why not make the most of it? Eh. You should’ve told them no all the same, nouveau Tom Jones.
Read the rest at Ebony.com.