MILEY CYRUS’S RAUNCHY performance at the MTV awards has ignited an online firestorm, prompting calls for heads to roll at the station while leaving others wondering: what exactly is twerking?
The former Disney child star, now 20, took to the stage at the awards ceremony in New York on Sunday night to perform alongside singer Robin Thicke on his song Blurred Lines.
The 20-year-old, who first pranced around suggestively with a host of giant teddy bears, eventually stripped down to a skin-coloured bikini before gyrating in a suggestive manner with a giant foam finger.
Then came the twerking.
Described on various Internet sites as the lascivious shaking of the lower extremities with a big assist from the hips, the classic hip-hop move has enjoyed a massive revival in recent years.
Cyrus, who twerked away in her video We Can’t Stop, has come under fire for appropriating black culture for her own profit.
In the Huffington Post, entertainment editor Kia Makarechi slammed Miley’s “reckless use of black culture as proof that she’s subversive and no longer a Disney star.”
Brooke Shields, who played Cyrus’s mother on the popular kids’ show Hannah Montana, expressed her concern in an interview with NBC’s Today show.
“I was Hannah Montana’s mother. I do not approve,” Shields said. “Where did I go wrong? I just want to know who’s advising her, and why it’s necessary?”
The Parents Television Council (PTC) hit out at MTV for “marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars.”
“MTV continues to exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate ‘twerking’ in a nude-coloured bikini. How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?” read a statement from the PTC.
Oddly enough, the pop-star’s equally famous father Billy Ray Cyrus serves on the PTC board.
The New York Times highlighted the “clumsy white appropriation of black culture,” accusing Cyrus of molesting Thicke in a “shambolic, trickster-esque performance.”
However the young songstress — in 2011 the richest teen in Hollywood — was unflustered by the hail of criticism, mocking web articles and twerking memes.
She tweeted remarks from Rolling Stone magazine that she had “stolen the night”.
“My VMA performance had 306,000 tweets per minute. That’s more than the blackout or Superbowl!” she wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile twerking is one of the new terms to make the latest Oxford dictionary update. The moves have been colloquially known as twerking for around 20 years, but the term has now received official recognition after being included in the latest revision of Oxford Dictionaries Online, it revealed.
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