Miss Destiny Hope Cyrus.
She has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue ever since her shocking and disastrously jarring performance at MTV Video Music Awards stole the show a few months back. She has been nit-picked and critiqued beyond compare by every entertainment/culture commentary website for just about everything: for being a racist slut to being a regular rebellious teen who just wants to be liberated from her Disney days. However with everything that has happened, I find myself feeling quite honestly, blasé and apathetic towards everything she does now.
Of course like anyone who saw the VMA performance, I was floored by her and it was not in any sense good. My expression can be likened with the reactions of Will Smith’s family (though it is allegedly a reaction towards Lady Gaga’s performance, but I digress).
Miley ticked every box in order to make sure it was a “strategic hot mess“. She followed the ranks of previous pop queens who were on the verge of epic stardom and had also seized the opportunity to shock and awe audiences, in order to cement their positions in pop music history. For instance, a young Madonna circa 1984 performing “Like a Virgin” while sauntering and rolling around on the VMA stage in a wedding dress. And, who could forget when Britney Spears appeared on stage in a scantily clad outfit performing “I’m a Slave 4 U” with a giant yellow python on her shoulders? The examples I’ve given of past VMA performances were all in chronological order, with Madonna being the daring pioneering woman to Miley continuing the “tradition”. Not only is it arranged according to the time frame, but the level of absurdity and hyper sexualized content also became incrementally over the top as we the audience become more and more desensitized with each year. We become immune to the nastiness and vulgarity of how pop stars these days behave or present themselves, because it is all just a routine of out-shining and outdoing each other. But I think we can all agree that Miley’s performance was the most shocking and excited the most controversy out of any female or male pop star in recent memory.
Next, I’m sure everyone has heard about Sinead O’ Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus. I did read the nearly 1000 word essay, that was brimming with motherly advice and concern for her, but instead of respectfully accepting the letter as it was, Miley took to Twitter to compare the veteran singer to Hollywood’s latest casualty- Amanda Bynes. Understandably, O’ Connor was angered and criticized her for making light of mental illness. This debacle makes for a very charming nugget of “a day in the life of Miley Cyrus” but it really is insignificant if you saw the pictures that she posed for Terry Richardson as it surfaced right after the altercation with the “Nothing Compares 2 U” crooner. The pictures, as expected from the notorious photographer, left nothing to the imagination and the question of taste and decency was nowhere in sight.
The reoccurring message of the open letter was to “stop prostituting yourself”. Harsh but honest words. Sinead basically wrote the letter in response to when Miley told a Rolling Stone that the inspiration behind the video of “Wrecking Ball” was her iconic video for “Nothing Compares 2 U“, “but, like, the most modern version”. By modern, I think she meant more nudity and sexual connotation. Again, controversy was swirling around the twerking pop wild child and she defended her video, explaining that it was a portrayal of her vulnerability and devastation that she suffered from her separation with her ex-fiancée, Liam Hemsworth. I think whatever hurt or pain she felt can be portrayed in a more subdued manner if she ( or executives) wanted to, but she chose the other route because it generates more buzz and Youtube views and in turn more revenue.
I am a child of MTV therefore I can vouch for myself and say that I am not a prude, but I don’t think whatever she did in “Wrecking Ball” can be artistically justified.
Some might argue that whatever Miley does is on her own volition and no one else, and I believe that, but it is foolish to think that she does not have a handler to persuade and nudge her. You can even label what she is doing as empowerment, rebellion, successful, different, bold, disgusting, unsavory, but some might disagree with you. If you were to ask me however, I would simply shrug and say “What’s new?”