Miley Cyrus VMA Performance: Was It Racist?

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Forget the accusations of date rape support and the general consensus that Miley Cyrus acted out of desperation to prove her edginess at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night.

And ask yourself this question instead:

Was her performance racist?

Miley Cyrus Grab Ass

Many critics have pointed to Miley's race "problem" - she has said she's not a "white ratchet girl," she's been forced to defend her race online - and how it was evident during the raunchy routine.

Consider her slapping of voluptuous black women's behinds, her constant reliance on Twerking, a dance move considered by many to be representative of African-American culture.

Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote after the VMAs that "this was a banner year for clumsy white appropriation of black culture."

He also slammed "the shambolic, trickster-esque performance by Ms. Cyrus, to whom no one has apparently said 'no' for the last six months or so."

Elsewhere, Vulture's Jody Rosen referred to this as "a minstrel show routine" and says pointedly that Miley's "act tipped over into what we may as well just call racism," explaining:

"Cyrus is annexing working-class black 'ratchet' culture, the potent sexual symbolism of black female bodies, to the cause of her reinvention."

Rosen adds that Cyrus is questionably attempting a "transformation from squeaky-clean Disney-pop poster girl to grown-up hipster-provocateur."

Strong, interesting words, all of them. Do you agree with these critics, THGers? Share your comments with us below, and vote in our survey:

Was Miley Cyrus racist at the Video Music Awards?


I think miley is having fun with black girls cuz she knows who to go to to have a blast. But not racist.did u ever wonder if she didnt like white people.


NO, NO, NO Miley is not the black beyonce! You should have called her the white beyonce. But there is nothing similar between them. I think that Miley actually sung her song. As we all know the talentless beyonce doesn't even sing her songs in concert! It isn't even her voice.

@ joenamherst

you are clearly delusional and tone deaf.. miley cyrus was horrible that night. people are blowing things way out of proportion with the criticism but if you really thought her performance was anything but lame your just as sad.. don't compare beyonce to this girl - she'll be singing with with kelly rowland and hanging out with rhianna in 3,2,1


miley cyrus is the black beyonce.. also is it just me or does she look a little like hannah montana?


I agree. I was very similar to when whites painted their faces in black face. The only difference is she didn't paint hers. I have seen other artist flirt with black culture such as gaga & madonna. In an attempt to be edgy Miley goes way too far.


"Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote after the VMAs that 'this was a banner year for clumsy white appropriation of black culture.'" So when a black person does a waltz, is it a clumsy black appropriate of white culture? Some people need to spend more time nurturing their children and less time nurturing that chip they have on their shoulder.

@ Frogmore

bigot! only a closet racist would compare the waltz to twerking! seriously? black does not equal low class! try again

@ Frogmore

Should say "appropriation" not "appropriate" Hate when that happens!

@ Frogmore

Ummm, its minstrel like. Very much so. She makes it clownish. For instance ppl such as Emniem who is white in Hip Hop, he has mannerisms and vocabulary from the hip hop world but its never over the top and I would not think of him as a wanna-be or a minstrel act. All she has to do is paint her face black.


there's nothing racist at all about what she done!
And twerking is not a black thin, so don't go creating hate where none is to be found.
ya should be ashamed of yaself!

@ kookyspirit

actually it is a black thing...or at least that's where it originated.




Didn't see the program, but suspect it was a "send up". Too much attention being paid to the sameness of races leads to an exaggeration of the differences. Hey, there are races out there. And they are different.


It was an incredibly ugly and embarrassing performance.
It wasn't sexy, it doesn't work as a joke or a parody - just plain bad taste
Her manager and the producer of the show should have vetoed it during rehearsals.


What's the big deal. This should have been talked about, done and over with. This isn't the first mistake anyone has made.... if it was a mistake. Sure is a lot of hype.

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Miley Cyrus Biography

Miley Cyrus Hair
Miley Cyrus has evolved tremendously over the years. Initially known for portraying Hannah Montana, the singer/actress made an effort to... More »
Franklin, Tennessee
Full Name
Destiny Hope Cyrus

Miley Cyrus Quotes

Thank you guys for all your support. Without you, none of this would be possible. I love every one of you and I could not be more appreciative. God bless you.

Miley Cyrus [at a concert, soon after photo scandal broke]

I have let myself down. I will learn from my mistakes and trust my support team. My family and my faith will guide me through my life's journey.

Miley Cyrus [on lewd photos]