Miley Cyrus and the West African Origins of Twerking

Sadly, yes. I did feel that including Miley Cyrus in the title and tag of this post would garner more attention.


Here is one of several thoughtful pieces I’ve seen – not about misguided Miley’s image – but about how the dancers that surrounded her were used “as props.” It also provides a brief history of twerking – a dance I found awkward and mystifying in Miley’s performance.  We owe it to twerking to read this.  – Posted by Connie

I doubt Miley grasps what she’s doing. Miley thinks she’s just “turning up” with some “cool” black girls behind her. She doesn’t understand the politics of race and gender at work while she gets to live out her beautiful capitalist fantasy surrounded by colorful props. I doubt she grasps intersectionality and how it means women of color experience oppression at an intensity that white women don’t.   She certainly didn’t feel me wince as she slapped a shapely black woman’s behind — a woman she happens to employ. That’s what wealth and privilege do, they inoculate you from feeling the acute pain oppressed groups live through daily.
Did you see Miley’s performance? What were your initial thoughts about it?  What are your thoughts after reading Christiana Mbakwe’s post?