Recently, Miley Cyrus has been under fire for her hypocritical statements on Rap/Hip-Hop music. Many have called her out on cultural appropriation and exploiting Black culture.
In preparation for the release of her new single, Malibu, Miley Cyrus discussed everything from quitting weed to moving beyond “all the nipple pastie shit…” In her interview, Miley attempts to distance herself from the raunchiness of her last few albums and broadcasted performances. (Sorry Miley, we will probably never forget about your 2013 VMA performance with Robin Thicke.)
While expressing her love for Kendrick Lamar’s new song, Humble, she simultaneously vilified Rap/Hip-Hop music.
“I love… [Humble]… because it’s not “Come sit on my dick, suck on my cock.” I can’t listen to that anymore,” Cyrus states. “That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little. It was too much “Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my cock” — I am so not that.”
Pause! Wait a minute. Who is this wholesome white girl with a sudden aversion to Rap/Hip-Hop culture? What happened to the “twerking,” care-free, hood music loving Miley that we’ve come to know and tolerate? What happened to the Miley that used Black women as the background for her concerts and videos and featured multiple rappers in her albums?
Not much has changed since bell hook wrote “Eating the Other” on the appropriation and commodification of Black culture. White celebrities continue to use Black culture for their own gain. Hooks argues that “encounters with Otherness are clearly marked as more exciting, more intense, and more threatening…”
When Miley released Bangerz back in 2013, she used black culture to express her sexually liberated self. Her appropriative performance presented a desperate need to replace her previous Disney Channel image for a grown-up persona. Still, why do white women’s sexual liberation always involve “blackening” up their image? Even more irritating, Miley previously declared herself “one of the biggest feminist in the world”.  Wilbert L. Cooper also criticized Miley by citing bell hooks, maintaining that she uses “ethnicity like spice seasoning…to liven up the dull dish that is mainstream/white culture.”
Miley Cyrus performing “We Can’t Stop” at VMA 2013.
Miley Cyrus wearing blond dreadlocked pony tail at the 2015 VMAs.
Yet, “…the commodification of difference promotes paradigms of consumption wherein whatever difference the Other inhabits is eradicated, via exchange, by a consumer cannibalism that not only displaces the Other but denies the significance of that Other’s history through a process of decontextualization.”
Simply put, Miley’s comments not only generalize all rap music as misogynistic and materialistic, but strips rap and hip-hop culture of its socio-political meaning. Regardless of her misguided opinions on rap music, her transformation from Hannah Montana to her “Lil Kim lives inside me” phase and finally back to the good girl persona presented in her new single is just another example of white celebrities using Black culture to give themselves an edge, then discarding it after lining their pockets.
Miley isn’t the first white celebrity to exploit black culture and she definitely won’t be the last. Although she is attempting to shift her image, I’m sure she didn’t learn her lesson. At least she stopped irritating us by trying to mimic blackness through her music and performances.
“I’m evolving, and I surround myself with smart people that are evolved,” Miley states later in her interview.
If rebranding herself because mass media is no longer mesmerized by the “twerking” white girl is what “evolving” means, then I’m certain she is on the right track.
 John Norris, “Miley Cyrus Breaks Silence on Rootsy New Music, Fiance Liam Hemsworth & America: ‘Unity Is What We Need'” Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/magazine-feature/7783997/miley-cyrus-cover-story-new-music-malibu.
 Bell Hooks, “Eating the Other” in Black Looks : Race and Representation, (Boston, Mass.: South End Press, 1992), 26.
 Cavan Sieczkowski, “Miley Cyrus Thinks She’s ‘One Of The Biggest Feminists In The World'” The Huffington Post, (November 14, 2013), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/miley-cyrus-feminist_n_4274194.html.
Elizabeth Plank, “The 9 Most Racist Miley Cyrus Moments.” Mic, (October 25, 2015), https://mic.com/articles/61121/the-9-most-racist-miley-cyrus-moments#.HHMYjwu4z.
 Hooks, 31.
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