Miley Cyrus Trades In Jordan Retro 23’s For Cowgirl Boots

Miley Cyrus Trades In Jordan Retro 23’s For Cowgirl Boots

- in Nuwla Black Culture

Miley Cyrus Trades In Jordan Retro 23’s For Cowgirl Boots

Urban Dictionary defines a culture vulture as someone who steals traits, language and/or fashion from another ethnic or social group to create their own identity. This has been a long-standing trend running rampant in the music industry, white artist transitioning into Black art forms and denouncing it when it no longer serves a purpose. The most recent example of this is Miley Cyrus, who recently gave an interview to Billboard explaining why she has decided to move back to the doe-eyed, blond-haired sweetheart, America knows as Hannah Montana; but, ONLY after stepping into her Jordan Retro 23’s, twerking on every award show that would let her, and stealing everything Black she could lay her hand on.

Miley Cyrus
Mike Will & Miley Cyrus performing in 23 video

Miley Cyrus isn’t the only culprit of this appropriated “come up”, this approach to self-promotion is seen in Iggy Azalea, Vanilla Ice, the Kardashian’s, the Jenner’s, Elvis Presley, Brian Austin Greene, Kesha, Riff Raff, Kreayshawn, Justin Bieber and the list goes on; white artist and celebrities have for decades built their names on the identity of Black culture. But I beg the question, who is truly to blame for this continuation of unwanted “appreciation?” I may ruffle some feathers here with this one; but, we are – Blacks are the greatest contributing factor. Blacks continue to allow Whites with no ties or love for our culture and craft to “have a seat at the cookout” without giving consideration why they are stepping in… plate in hand.

While Miley Cyrus twerked alongside Juicy J and got high – we were with it, as Kim K. continues to enhance her thin-framed physique to look, Blacker – we are with it, while Iggy Azalea sounded Black – we were with it.


We without question embrace these names, only crying foul after we’ve been used, abused, and dismissed, we buy their albums, we download their music, we watch their shows, and we make stealing who we are… okay. Blacks continuously grant passes to those we think have an appreciation for our culture – easily bringing into the fold those disingenuous. While Miley Cyrus twerked alongside Juicy J and got high – we were with it, as Kim K. continues to enhance her thin-framed physique to look, Blacker – we are with it, while Iggy Azalea sounded Black – we were with it. Why? The answer is simple, it gives Blacks the delusion that we can have a seat at the table of acceptability. If White America can embrace these White examples of Hip-Hop than it would only be logical that the art form and those who are a part of it, Black people, will follow in the same footsteps. Essentially, if Miley can twerk and wear Jay’s and White America says okay then the same will apply to Blacks.

Miley Cyrus
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

Here’s the reality, appropriators aren’t here to make Black culture more acceptable, they simply are modern day acts of blackface. Their only intention is to “come up” and move on, so it is our responsibility to disallow White artist to step into the fold, come to the cookout, make a plate and leave for the benefit of our hard-work. Blacks need to learn the difference between an artist who truly admire our craft, such as Eminem and The Beastie Boys, and those who are just using it for their own climb to success in the guise of a fad or phase.

Hip-Hop was spawned from our pain and struggle and true Hip-Hop continues because we still fight against the same impoverishment and injustices. Hip-Hop is Black relativity, a connector, an ongoing storyline of our existence and it is more deserving of our love and appreciation. It is about our willingness to bring forth our issues and hardships and not be silenced, to speak and be heard – our platform. Hip-Hop is not submissive for acceptance; nor, is it going to bow for a seat at the table. Hip-Hop is ours and we must stand against that which uses it to make a name for themselves, to craft a new image out of rebellion, or to “come up” off its existence.

Nuwla Contributor: Terry Lourdes
Feature image photo: Miley Cyrus from Billboard Magazine Cover


Suggested readings

Soul Thieves: The Appropriation and Misrepresentation of African American Popular Culture (Contemporary Black History)

African Appropriations: Cultural Difference, Mimesis, and Media (African Expressive Cultures)


Miley Cyrus
Terry Lourdes



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  • David Fenelus

    White artists have been appropriating the black music culture for for at least 100 years.

  • You can’t tell the difference between Eminem’s relationship to hip-hop culture and Miley Cyrus’s relationship to hip-hop culture because only time tells how that relationship will end. You’ll notice that heavy metal, classical music, etc. doesn’t define white culture, they’re just products exported by white people and a cottage industry of product-enthusiasts. I don’t understand why hip-hop is being held as synonymous with black culture. It’s just a product and an industry. You’re telling me we sell our cultural identity to DJs? No. It’s a mistake to think you can control a product in a free market. Just like how oil is dropping in value, so too must every commodity. It’s an even bigger mistake to tether your cultural identity to a commodity. How many Mexican sushi chefs have you met? The Japanese cultural identity is not devalued one iota when they quit to go make whatever else they want to cook. We have to pull the plug on this hip-hop is black culture nonsense otherwise our whole cultural identity becomes reliant on the popularity of a product…Remember R&B?…Yeah….

    • Lourdes Terry


      You’ve presented several elements and I’ll try to address them each within this reply.

      First, I disagree with the assessment that time is the determinant factor of an artist’s relationship to Hip-Hop, what determines the relationship between artist and Hip-Hop is authenticity, relativity, and respect. Eminem entered into the music industry as a rapper, he has repetitiously over the years shown nothing but respect to the art form. When Hip-Hop artist were overlooked and unacknowledged because White American couldn’t accept or respect Hip-Hop/Rap, Eminem stood as a voice in recognizing those artist – Jay Z, Tupac, NWA, Dr. Dre, and the list goes on.

      Appropriating artist like Miley Cyrus have never and will never defended or stood for what Hip-Hop stands for. When have you ever heard Miley, or any other name I mentioned for that matter, defend either Hip-Hop or the artist within the genre. Never. That, for me is how I view the relationship between artist and Hip-Hop, who is here not just for the infamy but for the uplifting and respect of the craft.

      Second, what is culture? According to Webster it is the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. If you understand the origins of Hip-Hop than you would understand my sentiment in relating the genre to Black culture. Hip-Hop is just that the collective expression of the Black experience in America in a musical art-form. From politically charged artist like Public Enemy to modern artist J. Cole and Kendrick, Hip-Hop is the Black people voice. Am I saying Hip-Hop is our only voice – no, not at all. However, unlike white people we don’t have a defining identity in this country, the fact that you can outline “heavy metal, classical music, etc.” as white identifiable genres highlights just how exclusive to their culture they really are.

      But, lets move forward, you push Hip-Hop as just a product; however, Hip-Hop didn’t begin as a marketable capitalist interest. Hip-Hop began in basements in the Bronx; with the evolution of newer generations and influence, it evolved into political messages that spoke against our oppression that was banned and unplayable on most major radios and labels.With the recognition by white america of the monetary potential of the Black struggle, then and only then was Hip-Hop turned into something mainstream that could be brokered for financial gain as a “product”.

      But here’s a better question, what is Black culture in America? If you acknowledge nothing else in this entire reply, I would love if you could answer this particular question for me.

    • Tiara Kid

      If blacks can straighten their hair and wear western clothes or sing rock that’s ok. But whites shouldn’t do the same? I’m just saying not everything is an attack on black people. Not everything has to have racism encoded in it.