Miley Cyrus' twerk-filled performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards has become the most discussed, polarizing few minutes in a show that saw a 'N Sync reunion and silhouetted Kanye West singing "Blood on the Leaves". More than one think piece has accused Cyrus of appropriating and exploiting black culture for her own benefit at the detriment of its pioneers.
New Orleans musician and "Queen of Bounce" Big Freedia is equally frustrated by the level of attention given to Cyrus and twerking's "new" phenomenon. (The actual dance is more than 20 years old.) Freedia hopped on the phone from the Big Easy to critique Cyrus' performance, give a few pointers and explain why we're giving credit to the wrong person.
What did you think of Miley's performance?
She was going too far. She's trying to twerk, but don't know how to twerk. It's become offensive to a lot of people who've been twerking and shaking their asses for years, especially in the black culture. But it's also helpful because it's putting twerking on the map around the world. I've been transforming twerking for the last three years around the world and for her to just come out of the blue and just start twerking, a lot of people are very offended by it, especially in New Orleans. When something get hot, everybody want to jump on the bandwagon and act like they created it. That's totally understandable but they have to give credit where credit is due.
Were you personally offended or just found it offensive in general?
In general; not to me. She may be familiar with me, but she don't know I'm the Queen of Twerking. But it's offensive to black culture and black women who've been twerking for years. Every time we do something, people want to snatch it and run with it and put their name on it. And they still don't even have the moves down yet. Just get me and Miley together so I could give her ass some lessons.