Many people have expressed their #opinions on Miley Cyrus‘ Great Twerking Scandal of 2013 over the past few days, and many of those opinions have been wrong or facile. I will admit to crafting a bit of an asinine response myself, because I was too disgusted by the whole thing to take it seriously. But if there’s anyone who’s destined to get it right, it’s New Orleans bounce artist and self described “bounce queen” Big Freedia, who has been spreading the twerking gospel for years, and is equal parts annoyed and excited that Miley has made it an internationally known phenomenon.
When asked by Fuse TV what he thought about the whole fiasco (Big Freedia answers to either “he” or “she”), he said Miley was in need of some lessons, on both twerking itself and how to do your own take on a pre-existing thing without straight up stealing it from the people who invented it:
“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…
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.”
“Ass” is not just a figure of speech here; her ass literally needs lessons.
She’s also annoyed that Miley didn’t use professional dancers from the bounce scene (from whence twerking as we know it largely came) in her act, saying, “Miley’s dancers were prop dancers. None of them were professional dancers. So yeah, she was trying to twerk.”
But while race is certainly an element at play here, Freedia noted that it’s actually less about race, and more about respecting the people who came before you, as the bounce scene is fairly diverse and white people are by no means barred from sincere participation:
“We want to empower women of all walks of life to express themselves through dance music. I definitely push that at a Big Freedia show and I have a lot of white fans who get up there and really twerk. I have some amazing white dancers who would get up there and shut Miley down. They could’ve used girls from New Orleans, even if they were not black, who knew what they’re doing.”
All told, a pretty generous response if you ask me! Maybe Miley will be sufficiently humbled to take Freedia up on his offer of instruction so she can learn about and properly credit the culture she claims to love, ha ha? If nothing else, this incident is making Big Freedia significantly more famous than before, and I think that can only be a good thing.
I mean, I defy you to watch these videos and tell me this person does not deserve to be at least as famous as Miley fucking Cyrus:
Photo: Big Freedia