Miley Cyrus. Miley, Miley, Miley…
I used to half-joke with my friends about this conspiracy theory I have: that certain children’s networks were secretly recruiting young, strikingly cute girls in order to grow them up into vixens and feed them to the more seedy parts of the industry— the parts responsible for topless Spring Breaks in Cancun and such. I would also tell peeps that certain networks were grooming child actors and actresses into teen pop icons as part of a plan to transform themselves from cartoon-based networks to music networks.
Then I saw the show Hannah Montana; there was pretty much nothing left to say after that. See, the line between fantasy and reality in our society has become very blurred. As a result, I watched Hannah Montana— not that I watched Hannah Montana; that would be a Manlaw Violation— literally step out of television and into the real world in the form of the ‘artist’ Miley Cyrus.
…Cool. Fine by me.
So Miley Cyrus, and a paddy wagon of other young TV starlets whose names escape me because I don’t watch their programs (with the sound on), started flooding the market with a bunch of music. I’ll be honest: I didn’t listen to any of it. Never been a fan of bubblegum pop music. The only pop I’ve ever been able to tolerate— was 80’s Madonna, maybe? 90’s Kylie Minogue? But I’ve wished these starlets nothing but success; frankly, anything less than success could end up in a seedy hotel room with cocaine and a video camera. …Just being honest, we’ve all seen it; probably had the same person in mind.
Now, this Miley Cyrus kid is interesting because, again, she played the televised role of her real-life self. On the low, she has probably become the prototype for a lot of kids-network-to-music-network starlets to come. And no, she is not the first: Timberlake, Spears, Aguilera, we can go on and on. But here’s where Miley’s story gets interesting. First of all, she leaves her show, which is no big deal because kids grow up, ratings fall, blah-blah. Somewhere around that time (I lost track) she takes the infamous shower photos and sends them to some dude. Which… I don’t hold against her. I mean, like it or not, teens do that nowadays. It was stupid, yeah. But the pictures got out by accident [right?]. I couldn’t hold it against her.
But THEN…Miley goes and takes a nude picture with her father. Now, this has always been my beef with child starlets becoming teen pop idols: you take your original fans with you everywhere you go; they don’t necessarily grow up when you do. So if you’re on the Disney Channel one minute, bringing laughter and joy to toddlers, and then on the cover of a magazine ‘nakey’— as rugrats sometimes put it— then you’ve just exposed your rugrats to nudity while they’re still rugrats.
…No big deal ;-\
When I saw this nude picture, these were my thoughts:
“A young girl has her picture taken naked, then smacks it on the face of a magazine with her dad’s approval and participation? Oh, this is gonna end on a proper note! And the moral of the story is, ‘Everything’s okay, as long as Daddy does it with you.’ Somebody get me some popcorn with extra, extra butter!”
Through all the sarcasm and jokery, I was really, genuinely concerned for Miley. Because your parents are supposed to be the bungee cords that snap you back from Crazytown. What happens when they go to Crazytown with you? But in the grand scheme, it was no concern of mine; I’ll probably never meet this kid in my life. So I decided to let Billy Ray & Miley figure it out.
…The next time I hear about Miley Cyrus— and I wasn’t checking for her by the way, because I hadn’t yet decided if she was an appropriate age for a grown man to be checking for her— she had just cut all her hair off. Now, mixed reviews are all over the place on that; I just wanna go on the record saying that, personally, I had no problems with it. I thought she looked sharp. I’ve always had a thing for sistas with short dark hair (a la early Toni Braxton, early Monica), and the short blonde hair kinda did the same thing to me, but in a new and different way. Especially the first time, because she had on this dope outfit; it was actually a very classy look at first. I thought, “Maybe the kid’s a little bold, but she’s gonna be alright. And her stylist is a G!”
…And then came this new twerking thing. Miley Cyrus? Twerking? I had no words. The moment I heard about it, I wanted that bag of popcorn back. I did not in a million years see any of that coming, and I normally see everything coming. First off, it didn’t sound right— Miley’s a slimmie, all skin and bone— what exactly would she be twerking? It was this question that seized upon my curiosities; I had to see it in action. The first clip of Miley twerking that I saw was a .gif where she was wearing a hoodie and was surrounded by teddy bears (I already told you, I ain’t ready to listen to the music yet). How did I feel about it? Well… I felt like letting a world full of dirty old men know it’s officially okay to admit you’re attracted to Miley Cyrus. Like, this twerking thing was pure bait. Obviously, Daddy’s no longer protecting this ‘kid’; she’s not even protecting herself. Plus, how old is she now, 20? Yeah… that would be considered ‘on the market’. Do you.
But not for me; my job is to simply think about stuff and try to see where it’s gonna land us all. So I thought about Miley and her gyrating. And thought. And thought. And then I heard about Miley doing a rap album— Sick, slated to drop sometime this year. I snapped my fingers: so that’s where this is going!
Miley Cyrus— attempting to cross the bridge from Kids Bop to Hip Hop. While my tone is sarcastic, maybe a little cynical, I’m actually not totally opposed to this. I haven’t heard her spit; maybe she’s raw and I’m totally sleeping on her. And maybe in the past I would’ve been angry and said she’s too “privileged” for Hip Hop. But let’s not forget, Drake “started from the bottom” of Canada with a pool in his backyard and a steady acting career. So maybe privilege is cool now.
But then my imagination ran off and did sumn turrble. You see, I’m seeing pictures of Miley wearing hoodies, and twerking, and with grills in her mouth. I started thinking to myself— what happens the day that Miley Cyrus picks up a gun? And not the Hannah Montana “my daddy is Billy Ray Cyrus” country gun with the cowboy leather grip. No-no-no. To quote Talib Kweli, I mean “the .22 (Derringer); the .38 (Long); the .44 (Desert Eagle); the Glock Nine”. Is America really ready for that? I mean, Rihanna can be a “bad girl” all she wants, because she’s Black, and they assume we Black folks are bad anyway. But what happens when Hannah Montana, American sweetheart, goes full-ratchet? I mean hoochie and gangsta? ? At the same damn time???
So here’s my question to you: how will you react the first time you see Miley Cyrus carrying metal? I just wanna know, that’s all. Hit me up.
-Earl Grey Summers, The Experienced Listener
P.S. – I had a good time writing this. Can you tell? 😉