I already updated Ami’s previous post about Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus with a link and screenshot of Miley’s response on Twitter. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how angry it made me to see her so cruelly dismiss a women she called an inspiration just days ago. Miley may not be listening, but I gotta get this off my chest. Miley, here are four things I would tell you if you were willing to listen to and consider any criticism…
1. Making fun of someone’s mental health issues is never okay. Amanda Bynes is currently in a rehab facility undergoing inpatient treatment, after being placed on a psychiatric hold in July. Sinead O’Connor has wrestled with mental health issues all her life, likely the result of the physical and psychological abuse she experienced as a child, amongst other traumas. Making light of both their experiences is not a rebuttal you should be proud of.
2. Not listening to “haters” is one thing. Not being willing to hear out thoughtful, constructive criticism is another. It’s childish, arrogant, self-absorbed and stupid. Self-reflection is the key to wisdom. At 20 years old, you have a lot of growing up still to do, despite your belief that you have become the person you were meant to be. Being willing to listen to intelligent, thoughtful criticism from people who know of what they speak — be it Black women who are bothered by your appropriation of Black culture and using Black women’s bodies as props, or Sinead O’Connor, who weathered through the male-dominated music industry when she was nearly the same age as you — will only aid in your continuing to develop as an artist and a human being. Surrounding yourself with worshipful yes men will not.
3. Being a “strategic hot mess” is not a “movement.” Aiming to have the number one album in the country is not a “movement.” Cutting your hair off is not a “movement.” A movement is a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas. You are talented, Miley. (Sinead said so too.) Your music is entertaining to me and to many others. But you are not doing anything particularly new or different. You are advancing nothing but the decimal point on your bank account balance. That’s fine. But don’t call it a movement.
4. Welcome more women into your life. in “Miley: The Movement,” your annoyingly named MTV documentary, you said that Britney Spears was the only woman you wanted on your record. Indeed, she is the only female guest artist on Bangerz. I’ve also noticed that, aside from your mom and the backup dancers you hire to perform at your shows, you don’t seem to surround yourself with many women. It just so happens that some of your most vocal but thoughtful and reasoned critics are also women, both famous and not. Seek out not shut out women who have blazed the very trails you twerk on, women who have faced bigger obstacles than you can imagine, women who don’t have your privilege, women you can learn from. You will be better for it.