Miley Cyrus: Is My Twerking Worse Than Breaking Bad's How to Cook Meth Lesson?

Miley Cyrus has responded to criticism of her raunchy VMAs performance, saying she isn't racist, insisting she wasn't "trying to be sexy", and comparing her twerky bacchanalia to the murderous meth cookery of the hit TV show Breaking Bad.

"America is just so weird in what they think is right and wrong," Cyrus said in Rolling Stone's new cover story. "Like, I was watching Breaking Bad the other day, and they were cooking meth. I could literally cook meth because of that show. It's a how-to. And then they bleeped out the word 'fuck'. And I'm like, really? They killed a guy, and disintegrated his body in acid, but you're not allowed to say 'fuck'? It's like when they bleeped 'molly' at the VMAs. Look what I'm doing up here right now, and you're going to bleep out 'molly'? Whatever."

In the aftermath of Cyrus's tongue-wagging televised set, the 20-year-old seems bewildered that it's still a talking point. "I thought that's what the VMAs were all about!" she said. "It's not the Grammys or the Oscars. You're not supposed to show up in a gown … We could have even gone further." She claims she wanted to "look like a little creature", and she knows her oversexed goblin schtick came across as inelegant: "If I was trying to be sexy, I could have been sexy," she said. "I can dance a lot better than I was dancing."

Cyrus is also frustrated with the accusation that she was exploiting black culture by appropriating hip-hop dance moves and, as one critic put it, "using curvy black women as props".

"Those aren't my 'accessories'. They're my homies," the singer said. "I would never think about the colour of my dancers, like, 'Ooh, that might be controversial.'" In fact, Cyrus is irritated by what she sees as a sexist "double standard": the way that commentators focused on her role in the sequence, not her partner Robin Thicke's. "No one is talking about the man behind the ass," she said. "It was a lot of 'Miley twerks on Robin Thicke,' but never, 'Robin Thicke grinds up on Miley.' They're only talking about the one that bent over."

Cyrus has also been reassured by the support of two of her idols,Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. West came to see her before her VMAs set, she recalled, telling her: "There are not a lot of artists I believe in more than you right now." The next day, the rapper sent a text: "He said, 'I still can't quit thinking about your performance.'"

Williams, who produced four songs on Cyrus's upcoming LP, was even more voluminous in his praise. "The VMAs was nothing more than God or the universe showing you how powerful anything you do is," he wrote in a text. "It's like uranium – it has the power to take over lives or power entire countries … You're not a trainwreck. You're the train pulling everyone else along."

Armed with this kind of wisdom, Cyrus offered some advice to her neighbour Justin Bieber: "I've been doing this shit for a long time, and I already transitioned, and I don't think he's quite done it yet," she admitted. "I tell him … 'You don't want to become a joke. When you go out, don't start shit. Don't come in shirtless.' But the thing is, I think boys are, like, seven years behind. So in his head, he's really, like, 12."

Bangerz, Cyrus's fourth studio album, is due on 4 October.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.