Miley Cyrus has had multiple run-ins with the sticky topic of cultural appropriation. She was put on blast for wearing dreadlocks to the 2015 VMAs, has been criticized for twerking in her music videos, and has generally raised eyebrows everywhere thanks to her her perpetual fascination with “ratchet culture.”
Unfortunately, it seems like none of these individual bouts of backlash have taught Miley anything about how accessorizing with black people is inherently racist.
This year, Miley threw a triple birthday party for her fiancé, Liam Hemsworth, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, and her younger sister, Noah. The theme for the entire party was “N.W.L.,” as a nod to the names of the three honorees.
.. badass pic from #bestpartyever by @taylorleylor !! The N is got Noah.. the W is for me .. the L is for Liam.. @mileycyrus throws the greatest parties than can ever be. She is absolutely the best friend, best hostess, best party planner, best fun gangsta best human evva!! I am sooooo lucky to know her!! I love her soooo much…
Every media outlet has been passing the party off as a “weed-themed” affair. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes pretty clear that the entire party was attempting to ape the rap group N.W.A., of Straight Outta Compton fame.
For starters, the cake was a snapback topped with joint candles and draped with a gold chain — not a terribly subtle homage.
Then there were the weed gift bags, courtesy of Snoop Dogg’s marijuana-themed website, Merry Jane.
There were weed-infused margaritas, as well.
The event was most controversial when it came to the attendees’ outfits, however. Everyone was wearing doo rags, gold chains, and various black T-shirts which were emblazoned with the word “Compton.”
There was also a larger cake, which featured images of Noah, Wayne and Liam and their “rap names,” under the heading “The World’s Most Dangerous Group” — a blatant imitation of the cover for the N.W.A documentary of the same name.
For your comparison:
This cake was also lit with a bevy of joint candles. The birthday honorees blew out the candles while wearing gold chains, puffy vests, and various “bling” on their fingers.
While it’s evident that Miley just wanted to throw an amazing party for her friends (complete with as much marijuana paraphernalia as possible), it’s important that this blatant cultural appropriation not go unnoticed. It’s really easy to label the whole thing a harmless “weed party,” but in actuality the whole affair subtly reinforced various negative stereotypes and basically made an attempt to accessorize with black culture.
Sure, she’s just bein’ Miley — but if “bein’ Miley” means appropriating and mocking other cultures, then maybe she should stop.