Two Reasons I’m Still Mad About Miley Cyrus’ 2013 VMA Performance

Miley at the VMAs

Talk about not being able to let something go, lol. I’m still mad because white privilege and the objectification of Black women is still a huge problem that no one is really talking about. So, I’m going to talk about it quickly and use Miley as an example.

When Miley Cyrus performed at the VMAs in 2013, I was really confused about why Hannah Montana had all of these black women on stage with her, twerking. The picture above is a snapshot, but a strong representation of the entire performance. All these talented, bodacious, Black women and we have no idea what their faces look like. Their ass is their only identifying property. I am still asking the question, how did anyone think this was a good idea? An the reason no one spoke up is because of white privilege and that we a desensitized to the objectification of Black women.

As more and more White people begin to use Black culture, it is important to understand how privilege impacts their reproduction. Privilege affords White people the freedom to do what they want without the threat of serious consequences.  For example, the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite had twitter on fire, as White people openly discussed the way their Whiteness allows them to get away with just about anything. This includes getting out of DUI’s and altercations with police. White musicians are a glaring representation of how experimenting with illegal activities or sexuality can take place without threat of consequences. When Miley is 35 and wants to settle down into her life, she can take off her fishnets, grow her hair out, and call it a phase. That time she smacked a Black woman’s ass was all a part of the fun. In her world of privilege, there’s nothing wrong with a little fun.

Black women have been objectified for centuries, so what Miley did wasn’t anything new. Unfortunately, Black woman have been increasingly overly sexualized by Black men in recent years.

Nelly: Tip Drill Music Video

Yep, that’s a pic of Nelly’s Tip Drill video. I graduated from Spelman in 2011. But in 2004, while Tip Drill was still on People’s minds, my sisters made the decision to not have a fundraiser hosted by Nelly. As USA Today put it, “Maybe it was the credit card that rap superstar Nelly swiped through a woman’s backside in a recent video”, that gave Spelman women pause. Whatever the case, they knew that there is a fine line between representing women as beautiful, sexual beings, and sexual objects. Its a lesson that the Black community, as a whole, she acknowledge. The repercussions of Nelly’s actions, and his other male counterparts, are seen in Miley Cyrus’, and her counterparts, depiction of Black women.

I’m just saying.


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