2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Pre-Show

The reactions to last night’s MTV Video Music Awards were at times more entertaining than the show itself. The Smiths’ puzzled looks, Rihanna’s emotionless face, and a slew of comical memes and GIFs helped communicate what everyone felt about the disturbing antics taking place onstage.

Amid the funny quips about Miley’s poor dancing and NSync’s short reunion, there was a deeper conversation about race and cultural appropriation.

The New York Times writes:

“This was a banner year for clumsy white appropriation of black culture – the shambolic, trickster-esque performance by Ms. Cyrus, to whom no one has apparently said “no” for the last six months or so, which included plenty of lewdness and a molestation of Robin Thicke; the ubiquity of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the clumsy and intensely popular hip-hop duo, who were recipients of three awards, including best hip-hop video. They also performed “Same Love,” their gay rights anthem, with the singer Mary Lambert, though when Jennifer Hudson emerged to duet the last part of the song with Ms. Lambert, it felt like a sort of apologetic compensation for the night’s whitewash. (For good measure, Eminem announced the details of his new album in commercials sponsored by Beats By Dre.)”

Adding insult to injury, the “clumsy white appropriation,” was accompanied by a virtual whitewash. There was only one black winner (Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu won the “Best Art Direction” Award for “Q.U.E.E.N.”) and the announcement of that award was not televised.

As for the performers, Kanye West and Drake were the only black headliners. 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, Pharell, Jennifer Hudson and Nike Rodgers all played the part of the token black friend, making brief appearances in white artists’ sets.

Ironically, Brooklyn, with its gentrification and sudden ubiquity in pop culture, was the perfect setting for the VMAs whitewash. Do you think the VMAs had a race problem?

-Jeannine Whitaker

  • Anthony

    Like I said in the thread about Bobby Jindal, White America loves African American culture, it just hate African Americans.

  • Cocochanel

    I don’t recall, but were the VMA’s ever representative of white culture. I usually skip the white awards shows for this very reason and tune in to BET Awards, etc. for the homage given to our artists there.

    I cannot recall the VMA’s/MTV Awards ever being anything but whitewashed so a little confused at the reaction surrounding the lineup.

    Was it sad that since it was in Brooklyn there was lack of flavor, yes, but definetly not surpising. Brooklyn has become the “new borough” for trendy well to do whites, so I guess this was symbolic of that very real change that has occured there.

    I was veery very disturbed at Miley Cyrus..her slapping the “big black booty” of some random dancers, her gyrating weirdly, sticking her tongue out, it was all a mockery and I was offended and disgusted on every level.

  • cosmicsistren

    MTV has ALWAYS been like that. Where have you been?? The show was nothing new in regards to taking certain aspects of black culture and trying to make it their own. Black people are the shit. We are too brainwashed to believe that we are. We keep getting told my white and black media what is so wrong with us when we do A LOT of things right.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    On my way to work I was thinking that this site would do an article like this. I never really looked at MTV to appreciate or have a lot of black people. Didn’t they hold off on playing video by black artist until a couple of years after the channel was formed. MTV blows up and stuck of to every white rapper who comes out doesn’t matter if they are good or just plain bad. Anything that is associate with black people they make sure they throw white people in it. I remember when they had hip hop squares and they made sure they had Mac Miller was in the middle. The middle should have been reserved for hip hop legends. I’m not shock by the lack of black people at the VMAs. I mean they probably think we have the BET Awards so there doesn’t need to be that much black representation.

  • SAA

    I didn’t watch but anyone that thinks that the VMAs was ever a place for Blacks or other minorities is sadly mistaken and needs to get in touch with reality. This is what White artists do best- misappropriate other cultures for profit.

  • Tracy

    It’s no race problem they don’t respect us, We’re supposed to separate & create our own thing but since we have the collective intelligence of a room full of pre-schoolers, This is what happens.

    Get over it we have nothing left, Checkmate

  • lexie

    how the freak is this black culture?????

  • Allie

    If you have to ask then the answer is yes

  • lil ray

    Im glad black folks were not apart of this mess.

  • lil ray

    And rap music and twerking are not a part my of black culture.

  • Marketing Gimmicks

    The New York Times nailed it.

    This “appropriation” of black culture has always been a part of white folks legacy but it has gotten downright disrespectful in terms of the clowning and mockery. Gaga looked like a dancing goof, JT is a fraud and Miley needs psychological intervention.

    They want to control the face of music but it will always backfire cause they aren’t the originators. And because of their need to control music’s direction is going in a bad way.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but this is past imitation. This is an intentional shut out to keep black talent from being the face of MUSIC period.

    I know my history and I know when I see manufactured hype. That Miley/Thicke Mess was a circus and that Wiggerfake is their Elvis Presley Messiah and I’m not buying it.


  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Knotty Natural

    Thank GOD I do not have cable!

  • http://www.labelwhorre.com labelwhorre.com

    TWERKING OR LOW BOOTYSHAKING TO RAP MUSIC THAT INSULTS WOMEN IS NOT A BLACK CULTURE…people like you make it look like being ratchet and hood is a black thing……yes vma is whitewashed what do you expect…same can be said for almost all the award shows..grammys, oscars, emmys…MAGAZINES…

  • Nkem

    Yes!!!!!! Watching VMA 2013 left me scratching my scalp. What…was..that..foolishness displayed there? I fell asleep, so these are my humble thoughts on what I did see.

    Miley’s “performance” had black women being used as accessories. White girl really shoved her face in a black woman’s butt on stage. This is her “finding herself”.

    Robin Thicke sang his ripped off version of Marvin Gaye

    Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won an awards over J.Cole, ASAP, Drake and Kendrick?? HOW is that possible?? When they got up to accept the award for can’t hold us they didn’t even let THE ONLY REASON that song is hot: Ray Dalton, speak. He just stood there smiling when it was his vocals that literally made the song. Ain’t nobody singing Macklemore rap verses. That pissed me off.

    How did Taylor win over Riri? Given the choices in the category Diamonds is way better than Trouble.

    JT got over 30 mins to perform and was awarded a Micheal Jackson award?! So we’re just going to forget the fucked up shit he did to Janet after Super Bowl debacle. Oh ok.

    Demetria Lucas’ tweet said it best.

    Kanye got what 3 mins?
    Pharell, 2 chains and Kendrick featured on Robin’s song
    J.Hud sang for 2 seconds

    So VMA couldn’t have more Black artist perform their own sets?

    Wow the BET awards were better than this stupidity.

  • WhatIThink

    This is what happens when the black folks in the entertainment industry don’t feel it is their JOB to uphold and promote the black legacy in entertainment and make a platform where black folks feel free to promote THEMSELVES and THEIR OWN culture without white interference.

    No. Most of these clowns feel their only job is to look up to, kiss up to and sleep with white folks.

  • Tasha27

    Oh yeah, they definitely had a race problem! However, I noticed a slightly different one: the blatant objectification of the black woman and her body! As a black woman I was SO offended by the legging wearing, big bootied twerkers that surrounded the whole miley performance.

    At one point miley just about put her face into the butt of one black woman before slapping her posterior several times. This particular woman wasn’t even a dancer. She was just there walking across the stage throwing items out to the audience. She paraded around in what appeared to be a thong over her leggings. The whole thing just made me so uncomfortable and was very Sara Baartman-esque.

    And by the end of the performance, Robin Thicke (a performer I actually admire and respect) sang his last note surrounded by twerking and booty shaking black women. I was appalled and disgusted.

    I’m sick of this obsession with black women and our bodies. It’s like our bodies and our round bottoms have become a mockery for others to point and laugh at and to put on display. No one put those women on stage to celebrate their bodies and affirm their beauty. Instead they were put onstage to be paraded around like they were part of a circus act. I’m sick of this shit!

  • Dorian

    I totally agree. Are we really trying to fight to be a part of this cluster? Black folks are much better than this.

  • Angelique212

    This is all cyclical. We create… they take. Meh. What will we create next? We are never knocked out of the game for too long. Our problem is that once we create, some of us are quick to give everything we have to them in order to be accepted. It’s just a cycle that we go through. We always survive, but never learn.

    Hopefully, this will trigger something similar to the Golden Age we had in the late 80s and 90s, when our content, our entertainment, was not crafted for mass consumption, but for cultural uplift.

  • Eva

    But they are a part of the culture of others, who happen to be overwhelmingly black.

    Not saying rap music and twerking are the only parts of the culture. But they are a part of it. This cannot be denied as the evidence is overwhelming.

  • Eva

    Why is JT a fraud?

  • Wanda

    Twerking is NOT Black culture!

    Plus, in my day we did not refer to such things as “culture.” They were called foreplay.

  • Malik Hemmans

    Debra Lee somewhere smiling

  • LMO85

    The first Black Artist video that MTV ever played was Michael Jackson. He blazed the trail and opened the door. And that was because his record label had to threaten to pull back their white artists in order to get them to do so. In my opinion, these White appropriators would not be able to do this so blatantly if Black people would not have openly aided, abedded and supported the foolishness. That has been Black folks’ Achilles heel for the longest–always open and accepting of everyone else-particularly when they show us “love.” They get the support from us and then they blow up and leave Negroes in the dust in the process. If Miley and JT didn’t have Black folks producing and buying their music, they would not be able to gain the “cred” they think they have to do these things. I guess it is still part of “our” collective Mental illness as part of the psychological conditioning of slavery and its ramifications–always wanting to be finally accepted by white folks by any means necessary—smh.

    Didn’t they shut black artists out of most of these music categories these days anyway? That is why I don’t watch the mess anymore, not true artistry is appreciated or celebrated.

    In a separate but similar stance, I am curious to see what happens to Robin Thicke–his case is a little different for me because he was once ONLY supported by and ONLY played to Black folks and openly admitted his admiration for Black music and culture from way back before his career started and he was essentially considered a “Black artist” in terms of his genre, but now that he has White folks’ attention (and Marvin Gaye’s family)–I wonder if he will stick with what he knows or change up. Teena Marie never changed and always stayed true to herself after ‘Lovergirl’. Wonder what RT will do…

  • LMO85


  • Luisa

    As far as racism goes I will say the Miley thing was a hot ass mess! It was all kinds of ridiculous and worst of all embarrassing to watch. I suffered the worst case of second hand embarrassment for her because she clearly did not have the sense to be embarrassed herself. I don’t know who is encouraging her to act out in this way, but someone needs to sit her down and explain a few things to her. Seriously.

    I do think Miley is appropriating someone’s culture with the ‘twerking’ and this ‘gansta persona’ , but it ain’t mine. It’s funny that the media is telling me what my culture is as a black person, when this doesn’t even come close to it. That being said she is appropriating none the less, because the women who twerked before her were seen as “ratchet” and “ghetto.”

    As far as the other hip hop stuff I like Macklemore, so I didn’t mind him winning but the only other person who I think could of maybe won was Kendrick. Yeah I definitely think race is a factor, but not in the “MTV is white washing the VMA’s way.” In that other article Macklemore said that his white privilege has allowed him to sell a lot more records than most other artist because white people view him as non-threatening, they feel comfortable allowing their children to listen to him regardless of what he says, and white people are among the biggest consumers of hip hop aren’t they? So what’s gonna happen if more white rappers come out?

    But I also think that versatility, the ability to rap about various subject matters, not just B**** and H**s sex, and money is becoming a thing again. Don’t get me wrong I know plenty of black hip hop artist who can do it and do it extraordinarily WELL, but for some reason they’re rarely allowed the exposure from mainstream media. Hell they’re not even given much support from the majority of black audiences who are too busy supporting Chief Keef and 2 chains and such. I think in a lot of ways the Rick Rosses, and Lil Wayne’s of hip hop (along with some others) are ruining their own art, and white rappers who are seen to be a lot more marketable (because of their white skin) are taking advantage of that.

    Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if white rappers started to take over hip-hop in the distant or not so distant future, and one day we end up telling our children about how blacks were the pioneers of hip hop but there won’t be much evidence of that left. Sad.

  • Eva

    a) JT apologized. More than once actually if I recall.
    b) What would have been an appropriate response besides an apology?
    c) It seems you may be upset with public backlash/response and the manipulation by the media of the entire ordeal. Something that is out of both Janet and Justin’s control.

    People want blood. Smh.

  • http://thisismysoapbox.wordpress.com/ fmm0822

    In a positive light, I’m quite happy we were not involved in any part of this award show. I know we like to be represented but do we really want to be part of THAT?

  • https://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    Anybody still watching MTV for black representation is a fool. Luckily, the BET Awards finally stepped up to the plate and put on a far superior awards show this year.

  • Eva

    Yes, I totally agree. The obsession with black women and their bodies is historical. I don’t expect it to fade. For some reason, even with more exposure, we are still seen as strange subjects to be studied by the majority here. I guess we are just way too AMAZING. They can’t stop sipping the koolaide.

  • L

    my question is: Why is this behavior considered Black Culture? We (blacks) want to be seen and positive and want equal treatement but we keep hanging onto the same “culture” thats holding us back.

  • Akosua

    just b/c it insults don’t negate its origins. Twerking & low bootyshaking are dance forms that got its origins in black CULTURE. unfortunately black people tend to cheapen, ghettoize with language our actions, nuances until claimed by non black person.

  • Eva

    Think Josephine Baker-Banana Dance.

    Wining in Caribbean culture, which is a cousin.

    Those are just some I can think off top. Once again, not saying twerking IS black culture. I am just saying it is a part of it. Regardless of whether it is embraced by Blacks or not, it is something that is a part of it.

  • http://amoeslolo.tumblr.com aMoeslolo

    There was no race problem. This is what they think and do. They have done what they think. BET is special for blacks, but you do not want BET. You want MTV and then you get MTV. They make it their own. Do not complain.
    Begin to accept yourself first.

  • E.M.S.

    I’m with L, if twerking and gyrating for shock value/self embarrassment and degradation is considered a part of black culture, I want no association with it.

  • Marisa

    I love how the NY Times used the term “white appropriation of black culture”, hello lets not act like this is something new that’s been happening for decades now. I frankly thought this show was hilarious and by hilarious I mean RATCHET considering how we dog out the BET awards and their ratchet performances and production. White people can be ratchet too and we have been seen it on display for awhile now but, they will continue to look their nose down at others. They will just say its just them copying the blacks and if whites stop doing they won’t look ratchet, trust me whites don’t have to appropriate anybody’s culture to be ratchet, they can do that on their own anyway and still be as ratchet and ghetto as any other group.

  • Meme

    Why is anyone over the age of 19 watching this mess?

  • nononsense57

    NY Magazine also commented on the racist and sexist aspects of Miley Cyrus’s performance and, upon watching a clip, I agree. I live here in Brooklyn and am ashamed about the foolishness that took place here last night, all while another music event called AFROPUNK, with talented Black artists in the rock, ska, funk and punk genres took place less than a mile away, to much less fanfare.

    First of all, I do not claim ratchetness and hypersexualized nymphomania as part of my Black culture. Simulated licking of a large Black woman’s scantily gyrating behind is not something I know about. Uncomfortable gestures towards a married man (Robin Thicke) is not something a self-respecting woman would do, regardless of color. So, in that sense, Miley Cyrus looked foolish and trashy. Good for her, that should make Daddy, her fiance, and her former employers at Disney nice and proud!

    Surrounding yourself with Black people doesn’t automatically give you a pass, Miley. Wearing “grills” doesn’t make you “down” Miley (and Katy Perry, I’m talking to you, too, based on the pictures I saw). Exaggerated hand gestures, doesn’t make you “hard” Miley (and Mackelmore, though I like him and he recognizes his place).

    It’s clear that Miley is doing everything in her power to show that’s she’s no longer Hannah Montana, and what better way to rile people up than to impersonate ‘hood culture, with its negative stereotypes, many of which aren’t true! What bothers me is that these things are associated with Black people and for that, I’m offended.

    I think I’m OK with the whitewash of the VMAs. Keep that trash, please.

  • http://www.AnArtKeyMusic.com Femi the Drifish

    we going too far if this is what we’re thinking. We speak of being stereo typed all the time but to suggest Miley Cyrus behaving as such is a black culture thing is basically to insult ourselves and maybe we should hold ourselves accountable for doing wack shit and making “twerking” a thing to even be talked about. Justin earned his merit, I’m not even a Timberlake fan or a Robin Thicke fan but no one will take us seriously if we’re always yelling race at every turn… thats probably why they don’t take us seriously now because of this. In regards to music and dancing, if we behave like bafoons and other races mimic us, why are we mad at them and not ourselves?

  • WhatIThink

    Black folks just don’t get it. They will continue to apologize for white folks right up until they call you nigger to your face and accept it.

    This skit was making mockery of black people using all the standard stereotypes.
    It was nothing more than a 2013 version of black big booty mammies on stage shaking their behinds.

    And the tongue gestures and gesticulations are straight off the pages of facebook which you can see right here for yourself on Clutch of black teens trying to be too cute and pretty for everyone to see right up until they get pregnant. Then they become miss blessed and ambitious working at walmart with some thug in the background, if not on welfare, but that don’t stop them from getting that weave though now does it?

    Sorry, but some folks just keep missing the point over and over and over and over and over again.

  • WhatIThink

    Because it is mostly black teens on facebook, youtube and other internet sites doing it.

    To say that in this day and age black folks don’t know what their own children are doing is sad.

  • phylecia2

    As I said on Jezebel, I am so sick of people like Miley Cyrus and Kesha. This is not black culture. They are making money off of a cheap whitewashed version of black culture. It’s a minstrel show. A bunch of white performers prancing around like “ignorant” black people. It may not be black face, but it’s very close. I’m sorry but I do not associate with this ratchetness mess, or whatever these “entertainers” calls it these days. Black culture is jazz, blues, Motown, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and much more. This crap is garbage, and has nothing to do with my culture. So let’s do ourselves a favor, and stop calling it black culture. It has nothing to do with my history

  • Treece

    They may as well have called it the MTV Video Minstrel Show. What little I saw was the mockery and promotion of stereotypes of Blacks performed by Whites, leaving other white people to reduce our culture down to those stereotypes (i.e. Minstrel show). Particularly with Miley Cyrus’s performance. As a Black woman, this is not my culture. Twerking is not my culture. It is part of a subculture that began with Black people, but it’s not all we are and to see a little pinhead white girl bouncing around the stage mimicking what she most likely believes is Black culture, was sickening.

    I don’t depend on MTV to show the diversity of Black artists or to give Black artists thier due dilligence when it comes to handing out awards. What I don’t like is when white pop artists use Black culture (or pieces of it) to increase thier popularity and thier bank accounts. And then MTV congratulates them for it. Only for little, half-way grown up Hannah Montana fans to go around thinking that’s all Black women are. And I know it’s not new, it’s been happening since Elvis.

    The whole thing made me feel all kinds of uncomfortable. But what do you expect from a bunch of white execs and white pop singers/rappers? Exploitation and denigration of culture for profit. Not a new story.

  • Anthony

    @Fmmo822 I agree.

  • http://demetriajackson.com Demetria

    There were definitely many attempts of appropriation throughout the night and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I think the thing that really annoyed me is how MTV put on a failed attempt to pay tribute to Brooklyn and hip hop by inviting folks like TLC and Lil Kim to introduce awards/performers and by playing music when they were going to and coming back from commercials but then allowing all the nonsense to happen as described above. I’m ready to be done with it.

  • http://twitter.com/hairunruled un’ruly (@hairunruled)

    Yeah, I have to agree that this is a limited definition of black culture. We’re so nuanced. To own only one aspect of how some black people behave (whether or not that behavior is held in regard or with distaste) is selling us short.

  • WhatIThink

    Oh and by the way, Robin Thicke happens to be a favorite artist among many in this demographic.

    So they know their audience.

  • Eva

    I think it should be noted that MTV and BET are owned by the same company….

    So, either way…people are still paying into the Viacom machine when they watch both.

    Thankfully, it seems other channels are beginning to emerge that have an appreciation for things that aren’t just the “red-light district area” of black culture.

  • lea

    “As for the performers, Kanye West and Drake were the only black headliners. 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, Pharell, Jennifer Hudson and Nike Rodgers all played the part of the token black friend, making brief appearances in white artists’ sets.” oooh that cut deep

  • SayWhat

    The obsession is historical, her name was Sarah Baartman. Because of her voluptuous body she was paraded around as a side show freak and for the longest time after her death parts of her were preserved/displayed (brain/vulva) in a French museum.

  • SayWhat

    I’m actually offended by people’s disgust with her performance because it is like they want her to ‘leave that type of behavior for black girls’. It seems that people are Ok with black women/girls making a fool of themselves, but let a white woman do it, then people talk about her debasing herself and seeking help for her. I wish we cared as much about black women/girls who flood the internet with foolishness worse than Miley’s.

  • Wanda

    These days, if five Black folks do anything ignorant but do it TOGETHER, some of us will claim it as so-called “Black culture.”

    Apparently gone are the days when we tried to promote dignity and class.

  • Sylvie

    Why is twerking part of “black culture”? One, “black culture” is far from monolithic and two I associate twerking more with strippers than “black culture” and strippers are all colors of the rainbow.

    Why would anyone want to claim twerking? Or Miley? Or even care to pretend about this outdated and ridiculous show?

  • Wanda

    Exactly. That’s why I am deeply offended by anyone claiming that this darn foolishness is some misinterpretation of “Black culture.”

  • WhatIThink

    The folks that say this ain’t black culture are also some of the same folks who would be first on a plane if they were invited to one of these parties at the VMAs.


  • WhatIThink

    Actually to be honest I think it is an encoded Illuminati ritual about raping black kids on the net who think they gonna be down with the in crowdz like the skullz…. using childlike subliminal messages and rhythmic beats.


  • JN

    Miley is like that White girl who tries so, so very hard to fit it with all of the cool kids that aren’t the bubblegum cheerleaders…and fails miserably. She isn’t acting Black, White or anything. She just lacks physical coordination. At least Justin Timberlake can dance. And that Sara Baartman slap was not cute.

    I do have one question: Since Jayz makes a small profit off of every event that takes place at the Barclays Center…is that a small “win” in terms of Blacks profiting off of award show debauchery?

  • http://www.facebook.com/spabuie marseeuh

    @Tracy, As a BW I am offended by your “collective intelligence of a room full of pre-schoolers” comment. SPEAK FOR YOURSELF!

  • WhatIThink

    But hey the story about the florida frat using facebook to sell drugs and lure underage teens isn’t popular news:

    Florida frat boys use Facebook to sell drugs, trade underage pics, plan hazing

  • http://clutchmagazine blcknnblv

    miley really dropped it like it’s last night.but too she’s a bad dancer.lmao

  • Phillygurl

    I hope they keep encouraging her, yeah, twerk Miley, twerk. I hope they make it so that not one single black girl has any reason to be associated with the nonsense that is popular music today. Here’s to hoping that next year, black women aren’t even in the background dancing, we have better things to do than to be associated with that crap.

  • Serenity

    wth does this comment have so many thumbs up?

    Black people have created many great things separate and independent of the majority. Where have you been Tracy?

    I am actually concerned by your defeatist attitude -

    ‘Get over it we have nothing left, Checkmate’

    I mean seriously, get a grip.

  • Anon

    “it’s a minstrel show.”
    You nailed it.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    When don’t the VMAs have a race problem? This is why I don’t watch it, the Grammys or any other popular white music award because the lack of black artists performing and winning is always skewed unless you are in the “holy black mecca” category at the time (i.e. Beyoncé, Jay Z, Rihanna, Drake, or lil Wayne). And as I said on the last post, I also tend to shy away from these awards because it just confirms to me that the TRUE artists/musicians are retired, dead or not mainstream because the stuff that passes for pop music/music in general today is lame, I only catch the highlights of the artists I like elsewhere. Our culture is always robbed and appropriated (not claiming Miley Cyrus’ act because that was just a HAM sans culture and regardless if she was white, black, Asian, Indian, etc. I honestly do not know what she was doing because clearly she wasn’t inspired by New Orleans’ bounce music/dancing). Lastly, people shouldn’t be surprised that our music, dance, style, flavor, etc. are taken by white people especially in pop culture because again they ONLY want diversity on their terms especially if they can make money off of it. Though I agree with those who said we shouldn’t co-sign everything as “black culture” just because a segment of black people do it. I grew up around twerking/bounce music but I wouldn’t call it “black culture” but I do understand it is a fragment (and not even a big fragment) of black southern culture.

    Kanye West may have been on one but he was right when he was ranting after the Taylor swift incident where he said “…Cause there ain’t gonna be no more mother******* Elvises with no James Browns…” Personally, I think black entertainers and we as consumers need to adhere to this.

  • RJ

    So did you leave off funk soul, R&B and Hip Hop/rap on purpose because that is black culture as well. Even if white people are watering it down it is still black culture and black music.

  • GlowBelle

    This is insane. So all the twerking, the grills, and acting ‘hood’ is Black culture? But then the next day we’ll say this stuff is offensive and doesn’t apply to us? So what is it? Are we claiming this stuff or not? Cause I’m not. Miley Cyrus and those like her are just selling a whitewashed version of what they THINK is Black culture and they look stupid doing so. You’re giving them WAY too much credit for this and you’re selling Black people short which I know is not the goal here. Miley (and her team no doubt) are probably looking at Rihanna and Nicki Minaj and seeing that THAT is what is selling so they are following through with the steps on making it in the music world today and going a step further for shock factor. That is what is going down. Didn’t make a difference who was popular, she would’ve copied them regardless, because she’s that unoriginal.

    Miley can go out there and embarrass herself with appropriating STEREOTYPES not Black culture all she wants. She is not displaying MY Black experience, and probably experiences of other Black people past and present. We are a diverse bunch, we’ve contributed immensely to this society in classier ways. We shouldn’t be acting like what went down at the VMA’s was all a middle finger to Black people and their culture, it was more of an embarrassment to what we consider entertainment and mainstream music now. I saw that we have so few SINGERS now. There weren’t even any rock bands performing, people playing friggin’ instruments. Bruno Mars was the only one of his generation really carrying a tune and most were excited to see a boy band reunite because that was the ‘good ol’ days’ when boy bands actually DANCED. Nobody does that anymore either. There wasn’t variety from across the board. The lack of talent that’s being exposed bothers me just as much as MTV is still claiming that they are music channel when all they show now is reality shows. I’m taking this with a grain of salt.

  • RJ

    I think you are missing the larger point. One would think if black music was going to be the theme of the night that actual black artists would partake.

  • WhatIThink

    Wow. I got negative feedback on this even though Clutch posted an article on Aug. 23 2013 about 2 black teens who went missing after sneaking out to meet a man on facebook. What the hell do you think the teddy bears represent? Adults? Do you guys even GO on facebook? Most of the people on facebook are teens with the pouty mouths, tongue hanging out ohsosexy shawty look in various stages of undress. Not to mention Clutch then posts an article about “brothers with no game” where one of the “brothers” met and dated an underage girl on FACEBOOK! Dam slap myself in the head for that one.
    Not to mention the fraternity BROTHERS in Phi Kappa Alpha from Florida using facebook to attract underage teens and sell drugs.

    I mean the fact that white folks know more about the demographics and interests of black folks on facebook and more about what is happening with black folks than black folks is ridiculous.

    The part about the illuminati was a joke because the message of the skit was OBVIOUS and not subliminal: kiddie teens in heat showing and twerking their booties on the net are ripe territory for abuse because they are in that stage where they want to rebel and that is EXACTLY the demographic Miley Cyrus is going after. Only a bonehead wouldn’t see that fact. Just like only boneheads wouldn’t know that MOST of the twerkers on the internet are black teens or young adults. Who do you think are the target audience for most hip hop these days (other than white folks)?

    Black on black violence isn’t “black culture” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. It is a pathology not a culture.

  • WhatIThink

    Black teen females posting semi nude photos of themselves on the net isn’t necessarily high culture but they are absolutely doing it and it is all over the place. Only folks with their heads in the sand wouldn’t know that.

    But black folks have gotten good at being in denial about their own pathologies while everyone else sees it for what it is.

    What on earth do you think the teddy bears symbolize? Youthful rebellion and sexuality? Is that too much for folks to understand?

    I mean black on black violence is certainly not a culture but it doesn’t mean black folks aren’t doing it and the music industry has been pandering to that demographic for how long? Certainly nobody in their right mind would call that ‘subliminal’.


  • http://gravatar.com/janschild janschild

    I agree; the VMA’s were a hot mess this year;

  • WhatIThink

    Well in another example of how these people really feel about black folks they put on another display for the world to see and of course at this point they know that there is no real punishment to be had for it. So expect more to come.

    And as usual black folks will pretend that everything is perfectly fine and normal.

  • http://twitter.com/Author_JGail Teflon Jawn (@Author_JGail)

    Yes. I was a little surprised by how blatant it all was. An attempt to “reclaim” their position in the music biz, particularly on MTV. I remember back in the day it was rare for black artists to get attention on this awards show, so it really isn’t anything new (except for all the shameless appropriation going on of course).

  • Face2Face

    very well said.

  • Mr. Man

    Is that what the teddy bears symbolised youthful rebelious sex. I’ll never look at teddy bears the same again.

  • Nadell

    At one point it was slightly difficult to detect now it is blatant erasing. Yet black entertainers continue to simply ‘show up’ for the awards. They’ve erased blacks out of the equation totally. Not only are blacks not awarded but now they aren’t even performing. They’ll learn soon to boycott and not make an appearance at all. Stop accepting leftovers when you could have the main course.
    Soon blacks won’t even be invited to these awards.

  • Nakia

    “collective intelligence of…pre-schoolers”

    You need to be and do better.

  • http://gravatar.com/phylecia2 phylecia2

    No way RJ! I even added “and much more”. I’m totally aware of how much we (as a community) contributed to the creative field. As a fine art student, I’m proud of my heritage. If I really added our contributions to American society it would be huge. Simply put, my rant on Miley Cyrus was already a paragraph long. I’m not one to rant for long periods of time.

  • Nakia

    Splitting hairs. This is clearly about black american culture. “Twerking” is one small part of black dance culture. The term is recent, the moves are not. People who try to deny it are scared that white folks will think we’re _______ (fill in the blank with the disparaging word of your choice). That’s too bad. No, our grandmas are not twerkin at the family reunioin, but, uh…

  • Sunny

    That’s what I was thinking. The awards show was a train wreck.

  • Leo

    I could not force myself to watch this mess and it seems like I didn’t miss much anyway.

  • Anon

    Well, I see that this time you remembered to capitalize the A when pretending to be me.

  • Itsratherobvious

    If you watched his performance (or any other) or listened to some of his latest music you will notice that there is an overwhelming MJ vibe. It’s rather obvious. And his most popular music is always produced by blacks.

  • Sunny

    So… since I refuse to ID a stripper dance as black culture, I’m afraid of what white folks will think? Girl just stop. Just stop.

  • Anon

    Did everyone just find out about Sarah Baartman after Obama was elected? Did everyone JUST get the notice about how rap is degrading towards black women after Obama was elected? Because NONE OF THIS is new information, and it seems as if only AFTER we got a black president did a whole lot of black women start looking at the obesity issue, objectification, etc… . I just want to read an article where someone in the comments doesn’t bring up Sarah Baartman like no one ever knew that story before.

  • Anon

    Well, they’re also overwhelmingly poor too, so… they are STILL not apart of my black culture.

  • Missy

    I wanted to see the Nsync reunion. *shrugs*

  • Missy

    I just wanted to see the Nsync reunion. *kanye shrug* watching the VMAs just confirmed that I’m old as hell and to keep a close eye on all the current Disney stars because this will be them in ten years. *FEAR*

  • Jen

    One typo in the article: It’s “Nile Rodgers”, not “Nike Rodgers”. I wouldn’t usually make an issue out of a typo, but given who it is, I think it’s important that we show him love by
    spelling his name right, especially since this is an article about showing black artists respect.

    Nile Rodgers has been in the industry for decades, was a founding member of Chic, and worked as a producer with every big name in pop and rock throughout the 80s and 90s and beyond (Madonna, David Bowie, and so many others). Let’s give the brother some respect for all he’s done, by spelling his name right! :-) And no, I’m not a member of his family, just a big fan, who appreciates his legacy as one of the pioneers. :-)

    Otherwise, great article, and I enjoyed reading the comments!.

  • Soulfulindustry

    Out of curiosity…. does anyone think that we (as a community of black folks) should also hold black artists accountable for contributing to this general coonery? I mean both Miley and Robin Thicke, in this case were supported by black artists..TI, Pharell, rappers who lent cred to Miley, back round dancers willing to be spectacles…. Justin Timberlake wouldn’t be anything without Timberland.

    I want to make it clear that I am not diminishing the erasure of black folks from what is historically “our cultural stuff”. Nor am I diminishing the fact that the VMA’s were a hot funky mess. I am also not making light of appropriation which is real, painful and damaging.

    I just wonder if anyone else feels like our artists in general often contribute to this bullshit and at some level should be held accountable for enabling it.

  • lynn

    I was at the Afropunk fest!!! So many great musicians, and so many positive, beautiful black people on display. Great energy, great day! That’s the black culture I claim, not that other BS.

  • MommieDearest

    I feel the same way. It’s like, we let them in and gave them an inch- then they took a mile. But why are we surprised? White folks in this country have a history of re-appropriating items from other cultures. Starting with this country itself.

  • http://gravatar.com/khrish67 khrish67

    I missed the “Blurred Lines” controversy and only got to see it on the news. I just never have looked at the MTV Awards. It never interested me.

  • callit

    Like BET Awards and the Source Awards were any more sophisticated right? Come one people. VMAs have always been trash and they also have given a lot of black artists plenty of airplay and plenty opportunity to become millionaires. Let’s be real. Music today in general is crap. Like Lil Wayne woulda brought the class? Come on now.

  • justanotheropinion

    Your comment is SO sad in it’s truth….damn.

  • EL

    Eventhough I’m mad at these culture vultures, Justin, Robin, Macklemore and many more, I do agree and have thought about this myself. It’s unfortunate that so many Black artists, producers, etc were so willing to let these white people take over and somehow wear this “Black” label and as for the fans of these people, let’s take Justin Timberlake for example.

    Now I liked Justin’s first album a lot, wanted to go to his concert, all of those things, mind you I was 12 at the time, ha. But as I grew up, I realized that he was just imitating the best of our artists but getting props for it like he was fresh and innovative and all he had to say was that he liked Black girls, whatever, and have one Black girl in his video and suddenly some Black people thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and thought he was “one of us”: White privilege. Also, once people found out Robin Thicke had a Black/Mixed race wife, for some people it was like “oh he’s cool then he’s one of us”. I do like a couple of Robin Thicke’s songs, but I’m not a fan and he is not the great white hope of music, far from it.
    Obviously they aren’t the first or certainly won’t be the last.

    I don’t know what it is about some Black people that are still so eager and willing to accept white people into various aspects of our life and culture as if we need! Like yourself and Mommy Dearest said, History shows what happens when you let white people in.

  • Ms.Vee


    Amen to that!

    Segregation is our only solution.

  • Ms.Vee

    Am I the only one that’s more upset with the black women that chose to gyrate on the stage with her (and what the hell was with the fat chick that let Miley slap on her butt?) How in the hell are we going to disassociate ourselves from trash when we continue to cosign it?

  • MimiLuvs


    Your comment reminded me of something that I’ve noticed, when it comes to white “R&B” artists.
    I believe that black fans find white ‘R&B’ singers acceptable if they don’t reach mainstream success.
    Take for instance, Teena Marie. Her hardcore fan base are black americans. After she had passed, the only awards shows that created a tribute for her were award shows that honored black music. I know less than a handful of white people who knew who Teena Marie was. But every black person that I know has own at least one album/single that was sung by the singer.
    Then there’s the likes of Jon B. His albums had done well on the R&B Billboard charts. On the ‘Mainstream chart’, not so much.

  • Wanda

    That’s a good point.

    Apparently, we don’t like to see white “crossover” to white success…LOL.

    My daughter and I really liked Robin Thicke’s “Lost Without You” song, but I did notice at the time that many of my white co-workers were not aware of that tune and didn’t know much about him either.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    think you are missing the larger point. One would think if black music was going to be the theme of the night that actual black artists would partake.
    I don’t know why anyone would think that would a channel like MTV. If they can put others in it or do it without black people they will.

  • Soulfulindustry

    Mimi Luvs,

    That’s a beautiful point. I think we (or maybe just me) want to feel like something is still ours and for us.

    I will comment on Teena Marie because I am much more in tune with her than Jon B. Although I am young and do not know all of Teena Marie’s business, I never felt odd or disrespected by her work. I never felt like she was in it for the money or to be edgy.
    To me, it never seemed like she was using those of color who supported her. It seemed like she loved and thought of the black community as her own and treated it as such. She was never a visitor.

    I almost feel like when white artists become “popular” for doing black music there is an element of not keeping us sacred anymore. I’m not sure how else to word it. It’s not really about abandonment for a larger stage. It’s about taking the community who supported you for granted and then leaving them behind, but still using what they gave you to be wildly successful. Madonna is a great example of this.

    Oddly, I never felt this way about Eminem, who I have other problems with. But I never felt like he took the support he received from black folks for granted.

  • Angelique212

    We’re gonna get the blame anyway…

  • simplyme

    I get it… but I don’t think it was a “problem.” The show was a train wreck of cultural appropriation that included every negative aspect of popular black and hip hop culture known to man. Except it was all White people… I found it hilariously ironic. How can you look at that picture of Miley Cyrus and not laugh?

  • Eva

    No explanations=no reasoning. That is all. -E

  • Eva

    Politics of respectability

  • Eva

    Okay. This I understand. There is a vibe. There has been a vibe since he went solo-it’s not really a latest music thing. You have Timbaland to thank for helping produce that vibe. But there are countless male singers (Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, etc.) with MJ vibes. Are we just upset because JT is popular and white?

    He doesn’t shy away from claiming Michael Jackson as a major influence in his life. Google it. That man loves him some MJ.

    It always seems to me that our issue is that he is a white face involved in music that has traditionally been associated with black faces. That’s what it seems all of this is about really. Ownership. Ownership of our music.

    Personally, I don’t want anyone in our community to be limited in what they can and cannot do. Should I as a black person be persecuted because I compose classical music when white faces are historically associated with it? Should I not be allowed to do country because more white faces are associated with that?

    I guess we really won’t be able to be at a peaceful place about all of this until we all look the same. Which is unfortunate cause I really don’t want to live in such a world.

  • Eva

    wrong place. posted on page 4

  • Eva

    @Anon There are people that don’t know the story. I only know of it thanks to the stellar education that my HBCU provided.

    I don’t fault people for their ignorance because I too was once ignorant.

  • HouseBrave

    IDK – part of me puts it in the “Everybody’s got to make a living”: category. Don’t get me wrong, I about jumped out my chair with outrage when I saw the big black ass get slapped. But how much does a black dancer earn these days? How bad are black people’s economic troubles in general? If that chic gets to pay her rent for a few months for getting her ass slapped on TV, sure, it costs us our dignity, but according to white folks we don’t have much dignity anyway. Soo.

  • Ms.Vee


    Your comment pretty much sums up why blacks are at the bottom of the totem pole. In order to “make a living” as a black person we should hope that we shuck and jive well enough for whites instead of gain economic independence (through supporting black owned businesses).

    And since whites don’t think we have any dignity the best thing to do is further degrade ourselves for their amusement. It all makes sense.


  • NikkiB

    I think the VMA exploited black women throughout the entire award show. I’ve also noticed that the exploitation of black women is on the rise in Hollywood in general. Lately they’re not just shaking their asses up a music video, they’re naked and performing sex acts on every major television network. I think something is brewing in the minds of these network executive. Black women be aware, and beware.

  • WhatIThink

    Now for all those who don’t think this is “black” culture, ie. shaking your booty on TV and the net and didn’t like Miley’s take on it, just look at the OMG Girls who are black and on facebook as well and were underage when they started.

  • Dion

    Looks like the take over is complete. Your kids and future generations will think this behaviour is normal. Good is Bad and Bad is Good…White is black and Black is white

  • Phillygurl

    Are you seriously comparing what the OMG Girlz do to Miley Cyrus’ finger humping and retarded tongue sticking out…..the OMG Girlz do not act vulgar like that.

  • Liz8

    If we didn’t have so many black women who actually give in and consent to filling these degrading roles in the media, we wouldn’t have this problem. It takes both sides to make the insanity truly work.

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