Miley Cyrus Needs to Take an African American Studies Class
Oh shit, I’ve done it now. I’ve fallen into the mental quicksand that is trying to analyze Miley Cyrus and what the fuck is happening in her latest video, ”We Can’t Stop." I would like to ignore it and shrug it off as old news and not worth talking about, since it came out a week ago and that’s like an eternity in internet time. But there seems to be no escaping Miley Cyrus 2.0, the former Disney starlet of Hannah Montana who’s transmogrified into a sexed-up, ganja puffing, white-washed Rihanna.
The video for “We Can’t Stop” just broke VEVO’s all-time record for views in 24 hours—even besting Justin Beiber, another child star getting ready to rebel against his child-friendly image. It’s on the lips of every obnoxious Jersey Shore casting reject at every club that used to be playing “Call Me Maybe” on repeat a year ago. It’s being discussed at length by bros who high five each other when they explain how much they want to fuck Miley now that they saw her half-naked on all fours (“She’s 100 percent legal, dude!”). It’s being praised by the ironic music nerds who see it as a triumph of pop culture and Tin Pan Alley–like tinkering. And it’s also beinglambasted for its treatment of blacks, who appear in the video like accessories meant to signify authenticity, just as her tight white pants are meant to represent sexiness. Not to mention the fact that the whole thing feels like a blatant example of gross cultural appropriation, akin to the Pat Boones and Elvises of yesteryear.