So the VMAs this year were undeniably pretty damn racist. Although many talented black artists were nominated, none of them won any awards. The entire award show had no women of color performing (except for a small appearance by Jennifer Hudson) although many had been nominated for their songs and albums. If you wanted to see Black culture, it was re-appropriated by Miley Cyrus in a twerkpoloptic godawful performance that literally utilized Black people dressed-up as teddy-bears as props. Some people are like whaaa Miley Cyrus is racist? Well let's just say she's had her racist moments. Here's a roundup of the worst ones.
She also used the term "urban" and "Black" interchangeably, which is never good news.
"I’ve always wanted country-rock influences, but now I’m moving over to a more urban side. It’s not a hip-hop album, though-it’s a pop album. I’m not coming in trying to rap. It’s more like, ‘I don’t see any girls out there doing what Miguel and Frank Ocean are doing," Miley has said.
As pop critic Jody Rosen said, Miley's VMA performance was "all about race."
"As Cyrus stalked the stage, mugging and twerking, and paused to spank and stimulate analingus upon the ass of a thickly set African-American backup dancer, her act tipped over into what we may as well just call racism."
“A lot of people wanted to try to make me the white Nicki Minaj. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I love ‘hood’ music, but my talent is as a singer.”
As Wilbert L. Cooper pointed out in his interview with Professor Akil Houston, she is doing what bell hooks would call "eating the Other." In her "Don't Stop" video, blackness is commodified and "ethnicity like spice seasoning. It is used to liven up the dull dish that is mainstream/white culture."
As Sesali Bowen from Racialicious notes,
"Pop culture trends like twerking, “aint nobody got time for that,” or even just using the word “ratchet” to define the wild things that happened at last night’s party are all rooted in someone’s lived experience."
"our dialogue about twerking reflects a larger system of cultural appropriation, commodification, and sometimes exploitation that has resulted in the birth of “ratchet culture." Ratchet has become the umbrella term for all things associated with the linguistic, stylistic, and cultural practices, witnessed or otherwise, of poor people–specifically poor people of color, and more specifically poor women of color. (Yes, ratchet is a very feminine gendered term. See: Ratchet Girl Anthem)"