If you didn’t already know, Miley Cyrus recently made some comments about hip hop that has the community up in arms.
I read what was printed in the Billboard article and I’m sure she’s being sincere. She doesn’t really understand what she’s doing. No one who culturally appropriates black culture ever knows what they’re doing.
When Miley’s hip hop persona came out in 2013, she was just expressing herself. She liked hip hop and it was a kind of music she enjoyed. Hip hop has honestly gotten better since then. There’s more hip hop and rap that’s thought provoking and important and does good things for the culture. Just like with any other genre, there’s problematic lyrics and some rappers get called out for their glorification of drugs, objectification of women, and their use of homophobic slurs. But there are actual studies that show that hip hop is not the biggest offender. Yet the stigma stays.
Her reiteration of that stigma shows that Miley never really cared about hip hop or its people. She never really took the time to appreciate and take part in hip hop. She just knew Mike Will Made It would be a good name to have on her song. That’s why what Miley did was cultural appropriation. Because if it were appreciation, she would have really taken part in hip hop culture, not used it shallowly to sell records. When Miley was sticking her tongue out and smacking black women’s asses, hip hop was king. Everybody was bumping Mike Will Made It on the radio. It was no longer just music for an exclusively hip hop station, Top 40 stations were into it too. But things have changed, and now, you really need to be talented to be respected. And Miley Cyrus was not a talented hip hop artist at all.
Saying that she’s “found her way” is like saying that hip hop is the bad drug that everyone is going to therapy to get over and get away from.
And that is mad disrespectful.
Hip hop is a beautiful, multifaceted genre with so many different artists constantly changing the game. It is not at all defined by hoes or drugs or money or cars, and it’s incredibly disappointing when people like Miley use the genre to get ahead and then “drop it like it’s hot” when they’re tired of it or something new comes along.
That new thing is authenticity.
If an audience feels for one second like an artist isn’t being real with them, they’re done. That’s why newer artists are really coming up and doing well because they haven’t had time to become a caricature. They only know how to produce what is within them. Their true sound. Even pop music has these undertones of realness in it, “Chained to the Rhythm” was not only a BOP, but it had a message.
Miley Cyrus was not at all being true to herself when she was trying to be a hip hop artist. It wasn’t art. It was imitation. And now, with these recent comments she’s made about hip hop, it’s mockery.
If Miley hadn’t said those things, I’d be all for this transformation. I’d be proud of her finally embracing her authentic sound. I would be ready for a Miley album that blends everything she’s tried out in search of her true sound.
But she dissed hip hop, a huge part of her career and actually something that helped her go from Hannah Montana to Miley. It’s ungrateful of her to promote a stereotype of hip hop after the genre was so important to her 4 years ago.
My friend asked me how we move forward. Honestly, I’ve never wanted to end the careers of those who I feel culturally appropriate. I just want them to acknowledge the voices of those hurt by their actions. What Miley Cyrus said was in poor taste, but it wasn’t done out of racism. Cultural appropriation is not the end of a career or anything like that. It’s the beginning of a discussion.
Miley posted today on Instagram that she will always “celebrate hip hop” and that she believes the younger generation “needs to hear positive powerful lyrics,” which really proves my point. Miley sang about molly and twerking. She partook in the shallowness of hip hop, only the “BANGERZ,” and now she realizes that hip hop is evolving and she doesn’t have a place in it anymore. I want her new sound to be more true to her and, luckily, it sounds like that’s what she’s doing.
We need to learn how to truly appreciate each other. I will never believe in the “we’re all the same” crap message. We are not the same. No artist is the same as another. That’s why music is constantly evolving. I don’t want more mockery on my playlist. I want artists to be authentic, because when they are, we get to listen to really great music. It doesn’t always have to have a message, it just needs to sound real.