First, let me say, I am in 100% agreement with the outcry against Ms. Cyrus’ VMA performance. Her performance was a shame. It was a complete and total disgrace. I mean, Madonna was the QUEEN of shock value-type performances, but even she had the common decency and basic cultural “street smarts” to not pull this kinda stunt. Seriously, for the love of everything Bill Bojangles, did THAT just happen!? Was there not a single human being with a shred of insight that could have saved this girl from herself and stopped this train wreck?
I guess not.
Unfortunately, Miley’s display is part of an ongoing, age-old vicious cycle that won’t be broken until we (African-American men and women) make more conscious efforts to break it, across the board.
our hands painted that black face.
I understand the entertainment industry is wrought with glass ceilings, institutionalized racism, and is basically “new” slavery. Today’s “big time record” deal is more often than not, a contemporary auction block.
I get it.
But, do we really have to continue to subscribe to it? Tolerate it? Entertain and accept it?
Do we really have to continue to play Jim Crow and pimp ourselves out in order to weave our voices into the pop culture narrative?
I don’t think so. But we do. We see it everyday. Nearly every new mainstream rapper on the radio, whether they are male or female, looks and sounds like the last. The songs all have the same theme. It’s the same self-defacing “black face on black face” Billboard Top 40 recipe, slightly tweaked according to regional preferences.
Why? For cheap thrills? Quick money? Ten seconds of fame?
As we continue to do this to ourselves; how do we have a leg to stand on against this type of gross misrepresentation when it occurs? How is what Miley did any different from Sir Mixalot? Luke? Ludacris? Snoop? Lil Wayne?
I mean, my sensibilities have been assaulted by some nasty-ass-pussy-poppin’ pop-rap videos over the years!!! I finally had to throw my hands up and just stop watching music videos altogether.
Pop culture today is so twisted, so lost, so confused. There is no winning for losing. I could list dozens of white artists who harken to and respect black artists of all different genres, but they typically don’t get heard. They typically don’t get radio play. Their albums typically don’t get millions of iTunes downloads. And even the ones that do, still get raked over the coals, whether they openly and honestly acknowledge their influences or not (a somewhat pertinent example is Macklemore, actually).
I admit I might be over-simplifying the decision to take advantage of entertainment industry opportunities in the face of several other socio-economic, less-than-desirable outcomes.
But I honestly believe it is time we bring this sh*t in as a community and start working to set better standards, push better messages, provide better images and role models; and more importantly begin digging in to do the hard work required to break the bonds of these vicious cycles we find ourselves caught up in.
I’m not saying what Miley did was justifiable, by any means (I hope she suffers a relentless yeast infection for the rest of her days on this Earth, truth-be-told). But, I will say that she’s not the only individual, of any race or color or gender, that has portrayed this sort of grotesque exploitation of race/gender/sexuality in an on-stage and/or televised performance.
It’s not okay for Ludacris to do it.
It’s not okay for Kanye to do it.
It’s not okay for the Yin Yang Twins to do it.
It’s not okay for Miley to do it.
How is anger justifiable, when this is what we’re doing to ourselves on BET right now!?