Miley’s Twerking Minstrel Show
I promised myself I wasn’t going to do this, but then I read this Jezebel article: Solidarity is for Miley Cyrus: The Racial Implications of her VMA Performance.
(Before reading the article, I should warn readers there is an assumption in the article that you will automatically know what “twerking” means. Like YOLO, I had to make sure I knew what was being referenced here, so of course I consulted the urban dictionary and Youtube)
I promised myself I wasn’t going to write about Miley Cyrus because I didn’t think it had any bearing on the issues I’m more concerned about, but after reading the article (which I encourage everyone to do) it became clear that Cyrus’ performance is significant, and needs some thoughtful, impassioned analysis, which the article provides, in detail.
Apparently the racist critique isn’t one readily taken up by the more mainstream white feminist focus on “slut-shaming”. In reaction to this, “NinjaCate” has this to say:
See the problem isn’t that they talked about slut shaming. That deserves attention. The problem is that they completely sidestepped the other glaring teddy bear in the room, and that is the commodification of black female sexuality in Miley’s performance. But it’s not a thing that white women deal with, so it didn’t warrant inclusion or discussion by the white-led mainstream feminist media.
So I’ll include it here. What Miley did last night was easily one of the most racist displays I’ve ever seen. From her insistence on twerking, to her use of all black women as literal props (they were teddy bears) to her smacking of her dancer’s ass and the simulation of rimming, it is very clear to me, that Miley thinks that black women’s bodies are to be enjoyed, devalued and put on display for entertainment purposes.
It’s especially timely to give this issue some thought, considering tomorrow is the official anniversary of MLK’s Dream speech, where he described the triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism.
Then, the day after that, America will probably be bombing Syria.