Solidarity is For Miley Cyrus: The Racial Implications of her VMA Performance

As a black woman, I feel like I owe a debt of gratitude to Mikki Kendall, of Solidarity Is For White Women fame for managing to so perfectly encapsulate years of subjugation of black women by white women. With those five words, she was able to instantly zero in on why Intersectional Feminism is so necessary if the feminist movement is to progress.

Because Miley's performance last night, and the subsequent ignoring of the racial implications of what she did is just the latest incident in the long line of things that shows me as a black woman, that white feminism does not want me, or care to have me.

Jezebel's piece on the performance chose to focus on the slut shaming that has been thrown Miley's way in the wake of the performance. All fine and good. Slut shaming is bad, don't do it. On that we can all agree. What it didn't acknowledge was the incredibly racist nature of that performance. So I brought it up.

Okay.... but can we talk about the problematic and racist nature of her performance? Her literal use of people as props? Her association of her newfound sexuality with the traditional codifiers of black female culture, thereby perpetuating the Jezebel stereotype that black women are lewd, lascivious and uncontrollably sexualized? Can we talk about the straight up minstrelsy of that performance? Can we talk about how not a single black person won an award last night even though the people who did win awards have been mining black music and culture for years?

No? Ok... I'll just sit at the back of the bus then. #solidarityisforwhitewomen

See the problem isn't that they talked about slut shaming. That deserves attention. The problem is that they completely sidestepped the other glaring teddy bear in the room, and that is the commodification of black female sexuality in Miley's performance. But it's not a thing that white women deal with, so it didn't warrant inclusion or discussion by a largely white-led mainstream feminist media.

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