Culture, Musings

Miley Cyrus: Retro Black

Wow. Miley really crossed the line with some people. There she was on stage twerking like a black woman, slapping big black booties and doing “black” songs. Talk of white people riffing off black music goes as far back as Elvis at least. Eminem famously rapped about this (Without Me). When I was young the joke was that white people couldn’t dance and all the best music was black. Well, so I thought as I hadn’t seen Gene Kelly et al and I hadn’t heard the likes of The Eagles or Steely Dan. In any case Michael Jackson came along and black music went global.

So Black music has come a long way since the 70s/early 80s when they wouldn’t play us on MTV. Now it’s the dominant urban style. You can hardly hear what used to be “white pop” anywhere and the days of rock guitar gods seem as over as the mythical giants of Mount Olympus. Boy do I miss that finger snapping 80s pop from Billy Joel to Hall & Oats and Huey Lewis; from Tears for Fears to Wham etc etc.

There are those who cry that black music is being “taken over” what with white acts (Macklemore for example) winning best Hip Hop bla bla. But this is what happens when you go global. Witness the English language now the world’s lingua franca but no longer shaped in any decisive or meaningful way by the English. That’s the price of success.

That said it’s a bit disconcerting that some black women (see article) think twerking is something to celebrate and to hoist up as a flag. (I may be reading this the wrong way). Miley’s act apparently objectified black women. If black women don’t want to be objectified they shouldn’t have been on the goddamn stage in the first place. Even accounting for the premise/fact that the black women on that stage only did it for money the unfortunately reality is that the predominant dance style people associate with black people nowadays is twerking or something similar (my heart bleeds when I see old Soul Train clips) and whose fault is that? Certainly not white folks.

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