White feminism has been in the frontline of the agenda for diversity lately, mainly advocating for the awareness for the lack of intersectionality. However, a few of these articles do that while also failing to actually bring to light these instances. The Video Music Awards was the other day, and though I did not watch it, I did hear a lot of information about it. And of course, Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus made news, but not respectively, as they usually do.
Miley Cyrus was hosting the VMAs, and she and her costume planners decided that it would be cute to don a wig with blond dreads for the show. This doing juxtaposed to the way Zendaya’s faux locs were handled in the media was the perfect example of cultural appropriation. It’s weird and isn’t okay when someone of color does it, but once some perky white person does it, it’s amazing and adorable.
The main crux, or buzz of the night was the part where Miley calls out Nicki Minaj for her earlier troubles with Taylor Swift. If you haven’t seen it below, I’ll link it below:
The fact that this was the best video to explain the situation is the problem. Miley Cyrus has still been placed into the victim role. Our society has a long history of protecting white women, dating all the way back to the many false accusations of black men raping white women. Usually, regardless of a proper trial, those men ended up lynched in front of the public, and you can take that and parallel it with this. After the VMAs, Nicki has been facing so much antagonizing, she’s been called “ghetto,” “rude,” and “trash.” But let’s rewind to what actually started this: Nicki’s “feud” with Taylor Swift. I will link the post I did on it below:
Whether you agree on the greatness of Nicki’s video or not, what she talked about is something that is still relevant and still affects black women today. For Taylor to come and insert herself into the situation despite her lack of need only went to display her privilege. And for Miley to then continue this antagonization of Nicki Minaj because she decided to speak up on her mind, it shows both her privilege, and a common struggle that black women must face: the angry black women trope. Black women are given this trope at the slightest hint of confidence in their voice, and it only goes to invalidate both the womanness and the blackness. “Oh, you’re a woman, you’re just emotional. You’re just making things about race.”
Yet, both Miley and Taylor Swift are being heralded as amazing feminists. Which they are, if you exclude the other women they leave out in the process. Miley used trans youth to promote her album, but where has she been for the many trans youth who have faced violence and homelessness? Where is she for the struggles of trans people of color? It’s not okay for her to promote free the nipple or fairer dress code when you shoot down the voices who are clearly not heard. And for Taylor to bash Miley, then go all the way to Africa and not include an accurate depictions of Africans in that area, for her to not even say where in Africa she was, isn’t intersectional at all. It leaves out the voices of so many other narratives, and it pushes the reality of power that much more.