The recently concluded MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) has spurred controversy brought about by Miley Cyrus’ performance. ‘Twerk’ has recently been included in the common lingo as highlighted by the lewd performance. Post performance accumulated around 306,000 tweets for every minute during the actual performance. And this is definitely going to be in the book for the entire VMA history.
The show started with a huge propped up teddy bear effigy as it suddenly opened revealing the artist Cyrus. Performing “We can’t stop,” Miley was rather comfortable on-stage portraying a different image as against her supposed Hannah Montana, wholesome image. and as the song suggests, it was rather liberating. It was rather distasteful for me as first, as it wasn’t much my preferred genre; and second it was rather unusual to use stuffed bears as props for the show, while singing about being in a party. I just couldn’t get the point. Add to this the skimpiness that she outwardly showed with her outfits, let alone her “explicit tricks” and self-expressed choreography. And now, people talk about it. The groupthink has it that it was undoubtedly crass and a ‘no-no’ in entertainment.
My take is simple. It is entertainment, nothing more, nothing less.
My first reaction was nothing more than just an affirmation that the music and arts have greatly surpassed the enclosures. As the cliche goes, people have “thought out of the box.” It’s human nature that we go beyond what is common and usual. We tend to flex our minds for the purpose of invention, originality, better ideas, change, and dynamism. I mean, Lady Gaga has been there. She has done that. To the purists, it’s extremely not good. She is an act of conjuring of the demon or something. But to her, it was just her expression of her identity, the essence of her songs, the art she conveys, and the way she just shows the world who Gaga is. And probably, to Miley Cyrus, it was her debut into the more explorative and discovering stage of her career, pushing limits, breaking barriers, and going beyond borders. In the entertainment industry, it is rather imperative to move around and prove you are something with your authenticity. That is how things are.
Checking out the “We Can’t Stop” music video, I realized the VMA popular reaction was collectively, overly done. The song simply expresses the will to do whatever one does, well, in the concrete portrayal of a party. It’s rather liberating to listen to it in a more softer tone than loud. The melody is less provoking and more neutral so to say. My point is, beyond the VMA, there is more to see. Yes, the purists are entitled to their own tradition-salvage agenda. But this does not necessarily impair what is traditionally intact. It is no longer the responsibility of the artist or even the song itself to appease or please. I just believe that as an artist, one ought to have the room for creativity, expression, ability to convey, and prove originality. And because of this, he or she is meant to go beyond the mania and just continue to craft the arts. And the arts may actually be subject to scrutiny, be it narrow-directed or plainly, collectively responded, but it will always stand on its own, as an expression of human-ness that is.
To me, culture changes. Trends change. Music is as dynamic as the movement of time. I do think that for a certain construct, be it any aspect of culture, entertainment as it is the case, there is always something new. It may not be readily accepted, but in time, it will be. I like Lady Gaga for her emancipating songs. I admire Katy Perry for the loud colors and the popularity of her songs as reflective of what she has gone through. And, to some, this may seem a biased-proven statement, but I actually like Miley Cyrus, not just for her raspy voice, which actually works well for her songs, especially the acoustically produced ones, but, also, for her ability to transcend beyond her Hannah Montana image, which people up until now are so engrossed and attached.
I once tweeted as my initial reaction that the whole Miley Cyrus controversy is boring, and that’s because what has been thrown at her has been done before. It’s the same old rant that tries to put down any artist who tries to blossom into the arts beyond anything.
Photo Credit: [Featured photo: www.spin.com]