Miley Cyrus twerks at a New Orleans karaoke bar, regrets nothing

Miley Cyrus apparently twerked at a karaoke bar in New Orleans Monday night, which is — depending on where you stand on the whole twerking/cultural appropriation question — either a glorious surprise for fans, or a stubborn and unlearning act of brutish insensitivity.

 

Cyrus — who appears around the minute-and-thirty-second mark, wearing a beanie — sparked a firestorm at last year’s VMAs when she performed (some say appropriated!) the booty-shaking dance called “twerking” on live TV. That subject has been debated and dissected in enormous detail already, so I’ll just leave these links here.

But it’s probably worth noting that New Orleans — and more specifically, New Orleans’s black bounce and hip-hop scenes — are widely credited as the birthplace of twerk. This, for instance, is what New Orleans bounce legend/”Queen of Twerking” Big Freedia had to say about Cyrus in August:

She’s trying to twerk, but don’t know how to twerk. It’s become offensive to a lot of people who’ve been twerking and shaking their [butts] for years, especially in the black culture … for her to just come out of the blue and just start twerking, a lot of people are very offended by it, especially in New Orleans. When something get hot, everybody want to jump on the bandwagon and act like they created it. That’s totally understandable but they have to give credit where credit is due.

To further complicate things, Cyrus twerks in this latest performance to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” — a song resplendent with its own racial and cultural overtones. C’mon, Cyrus. Did you learn nothing from the VMAs?


Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Caitlin Dewey · March 18