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 what she did was lame and wanted attention but i dont agree with the racist part you guys dont never call rihanna and gaga out on their shit why. Yall still messing with this child for she no what she did was low and wrong let her be shes human and plus she is going to keep on doinng stuff to be in the spotlight just because she no it gets to people and plus her father is going to always support her

@ besssie+busbu

I agree, this is becoming out of control and ridiculous. What next? She's going to be blamed for diseases, the collapse of the economy and everything under the sun. I'm African-American and feel that this is a dumb argument. Meanwhile, what is this dude doing about real racism and violence within our community? And where was the outrage when artists such as Rihanna lapdanced on top of a guy at a concert or gropes herself. Or Gaga had her butt out the whole night at the VMAs. I like these women, but it seems people feel every 6 mths to a year they have to attack an artist just for the sake of it. There have been artists throughout music history who have done worse. People need to move on already.


RACIST? Really? Find something else to write about. She is far from racist. She's just finding herself and her performance was over the top but get over it for christs sake.


WHO CARES!!!!!!!! If people actually had lives to live rather than sitting around talking about what Miley has done this time the world would be a better place. Mind your own business! Shes getting what she wants no matter if you are talking good or bad about her. ITS ALL PUBLICITY!!!! No the performance wasnt great but shit happens! Move on.


As a black man I didn't find her performance racist at all, just plain tacky! Attention seeking is more of what comes to mind. And judging by the reaction all over the web, she has achieved what she set out to do, and that's having everybody talk about her. Too bad people are too dense to realize they fell right into her plan. Hey Miley, you looked a hot mess on stage, but you've achieved Tupac status, all eyes on you!

@ superfly1977

Well said, I agree!


I don't really think she was trying to be racist, but she sure was PATHETIC!!!!!


Your poll is racist, honestly. That you don't have an option to say she's an adult and do what she wants is just as bad as what she's accused of. White hip hoppers or rappers aren't accused of stealing black genres. Most are just jealous that she's still making $. If she wasn't popular she wouldn't have been there. Get over it and move on.


But fkn kanye acting like a fool at every awards show isn't racist? Lmfao okay whatever but then again he is blk


If someone has to ask if it was racist days after then they are the racist ones.


Why do we have to cry "racist" on everything we see?

@ rj

I hink it was racist because if you saw her performance than you know she did not have one white dancer.

@ rj

They do and you can credit the white youth for going along with it.


This might have been the dumbest article I have ever read in my life. No, it wasn't racist. Unbelievable.

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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]