Twerking in America: Disney Edition


If you’ve been following celebrity news stories over the summer, I guarantee you witnessed the twerking phenomenon that is sweeping the nation: Miley Cyrus. The former Disney child star has shed her good girl image and could be found twerking at rap concert near you. 

Pretty impressive right? The answer to all of life’s problems are solved. 

Let me make myself clear, this piece is not meant to bash Miley Cyrus. I’m quite sure she doesn’t have a clear understanding of the culture she is mimicking. This is to look into the inequality of our society.  This may seem like another celebrity gone wild, but this situation is so much deeper. 

If a young Black starlet were to be running around Hollywood participating in such provocative antics as dancing on stage at rap concerts and releasing videos, she would be called everything except a child of God. 

On the contrary, the media tells us it is acceptable for a young White woman to participate in such activities and mock black culture as a way to rebel against a privileged lifestyle. 

Like it or not, there are just some things that are associated with Black culture. 

Three weeks ago during the MTV Video Music Awards,  Cyrus premiered her new persona to the world.  She spent the majority of her time on stage parading around in a flesh-colored latex bikini two-piece and grinding on married R&B singer Robin Thicke. Social media instantly became flooded with reactions to her performance, and people were impressed with Miley’s carefree attitude.  

A few weeks ago, megastar Rihanna posted photos that set social media on fire. She was photographed enjoying carnival festivities in her native Barbados and was immediately bashed for her racy costume.  

On one hand, the media tells us it’s Ok for Cyrus to twerk on stage with rapper Juicy J because it’s “edgy” and “hip”, but on the other hand, it’s “classless” or “taboo” for Rihanna to enjoy the festivities for a culture she rightfully belongs to. 

It’s a triple standard. Yes, I say triple standard. Black women are not only fighting for respect from Black men, but women of other races. Think about the last time you’ve seen something positive in the media regarding Black women. 

Despite what the media and society wantsyou to believe, race is always a factor. 

As a college student and a woman of color, I personally struggle with trying to balance my persona in professional settings. I want to be charismatic without letting elements of my Brooklyn childhood seep through. I’m constantly clashing with the voice in my head that continually says, “you have to be a positive representation.”

 I battle with what aspects of my personality I should display, so I won’t ruffle anyone’s feathers. Most times when I’m in a new or uncomfortable professional setting, I tend to tone myself down. If anyone truly knows me, my personality is far from lackluster. 

To connect everything I’m saying, Black women have to constantly walk on eggshells in the professional world in order to avoid offending someone. We know our unique wardrobe and hair style’s could lead to an impromptu Q&A session from complete strangers. We know any wrong move we make causes us to be stereotyped. 

My advice for my college-educated Black women is to remain strong and continue to strive for better. We’re not who the media makes us out to be. 

My young Black queens, hold your heads high and walk through this world with the unparalleled grace God gave us.