“Miley, What’s Good?”
I really hate myself and my life choices right now. Why? Because I’m writing a thinkpiece about two pop stars because people outside of their industry are commenting on their antics at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) last night, and I am not a strong fan of either. I hate thinkpieces that come out of awards shows. Someone does something other people like (or don’t like) and it’s a commentary on pop culture, feminism, womanhood, the male gaze, masculinity, men issues, and somehow President Obama gets blamed or it’s spun into a positive for Hillary Clinton. And it’s likely staged for ratings anyway. Ugh! And yet I soldier on.
Way back a few weeks ago, the MTV VMAs nominees were announced. Missing from the “Video of the Year” category was Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”. Nicki took to Twitter to express her disapproval over the results and said that it seems like if you’re a skinny white girl with a flat butt doing a regular video, you’re deemed groundbreaking enough to get a nomination, but Anaconda was culturally impacting everywhere more than the other videos that were nominated. Now, while Nicki brings up a great point about minority women being overlooked for the big awards (I mean, “7/11” was nominated and that was…not really all…anyway) and I feel she eventually got around to that point (although I disagree that “Anaconda” is the hill to die on for it, it’s still her art and she cares about her work being honored and I respect that). Along comes Taylor Swift feeling that the “skinny white girl with a flat butt” comment was about her (which, I feel it was, but not directly her but just the “her” in that she’s a part of the group). Nicki gets caught off guard and essentially tells Taylor, “No one was talking to or about you. Why are you here?” Eventually they reconciled online and offline, the media didn’t report that but reported that Nicki Minaj came for Taylor Swift and put up Taylor looking innocent and shocked and pictures of Nicki in attack mode. I rolled my eyes at the spin and about media not reporting how they made up via Twitter and offline, what Nicki’s overall point was, and how Taylor apologized for jumping in.
Flash forward to the other day when Miley Cyrus was interviewed about her upcoming gig for hosting the VMAs. They asked her about Nicki’s comments. Miley first said (twice) that she didn’t really follow what happened but then launched into a diatribe about Nicki’s personality, professionalism, and needing to be kinder in explaining racism to people so they can have a compassionate approach to understanding your argument and maybe, if they feel like it, take up the fight with you (or just take it over from you because they know best how to handle it). Miley totally spoke some tone-deaf words about Nicki, her argument, and racism in the industry and advised Nicki to “say this instead of that” when Nicki had already effectively articulated her point via Twitter.
So, last night Nicki won an award for “Anaconda” – Best Hip Hop video. After thanking her pastor (!), Nicki paused, and then said, “Back to this b*tch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. What’s good, Miley?” Miley looked shocked that she had been called out and recovered somewhat by saying, “Nicki, we both have been in this industry long enough to know that they twist the s*it you say. Congratu-f******-lations, Nicki.” Nicki then followed (off-mic) by saying, “Don’t play me, b*tch. Don’t play with me!”
MY LIFE: RECEIVED, GOTTEN, AND OBTAINED!
Today people are saying that Nicki was way too aggressive for poor little Miley. Listen, y’all. Nicki shouldn’t apologize for anything. This was something she was handling just fine on her own, then Taylor jumped in and jumped back out after getting her face handed back to her. Miley? Miley said she didn’t follow it but then started speaking on it from the perspective of the media saying that Taylor got attacked, which was not even remotely close to the case of what actually happened. Miley overstepped and Nicki clearly drew the boundary line. That’s all I saw. It seems like you can’t chin-check certain people because they seem fragile and the victim, even if they jump into something with an unwarranted opinion. Far too often I see in media that when a black woman stands up for herself it’s “aggressive,” “savage,” and “bullying” but when a white woman does it, she’s “strong” and “feminist.” Yes, we all have opinions and we are entitled to them. What we are not entitled to, however, is getting away with overstepping boundaries to walk all over people. If they stand up for themselves, they aren’t being aggressive or mean. They’re just telling you what isn’t cool with them.
And Nicki, to me, chose the best format for shutting down Miley’s overstepping. I bet you she’ll think twice before popping off ignorant at the mouth about something else.
But props to Miley for allowing trans people to introduce her and then using drag queens (who outshone her) in her performance about being a rebellious 15 year old (“I smoke pot! I like penis!” Okay, girl, so does every high school freshman. Your point?). (I really, really hate myself for this post.)
Anyway, Tori Kelly came out and slayed all of our immortal souls with her voice. If you don’t know about her, get into her. This girl sings DAAAOWWWWN! Get into her!