What You Didn’t Get About Miley’s VMA Performance

emilee lindner, MTV.com
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Miley Cyrus’ suprise performance on Sunday night wasn’t just rainbow puke. It wasn’t weird for the sake of being weird. It wasn’t just a repeat of her outrageous 2013 performance when she twerked with Robin Thicke. Miley’s 2015 VMA performance had meaning and intention, and if you don’t understand it, you probably think it’s bad.

That’s how all art is — if you don’t understand it, if it doesn’t connect with you, you dismiss it. On the surface, you see Miley spitting glitter and rubbing sprinkles on her face. You might say, “ew.” But for many kids watching, it was important.

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During the rehearsal for “Dooo It!” on Saturday, I watched Miley make the calls with the VMA producers — “this is extremely important,” she said, crouching over the edge of the stage, making sure the cameraman was getting all the correct shots. Every part of the performance — from the background video to Miley’s army to the costumes to the lyrics to its introduction — had intent.

“The truth is, tonight does matter. Why? Because of all the sticky, young impressionable minds of our future who are watching us right now,” the people of her Happy Hippie Insta-pride crew said as they introduced Miley. “Always say what you mean, and mean what you say, and in the words of tonight’s host and final performers, stop talking about it, and just do it.”

As for the straightforward lyrics of “Dooo It!,” which is now streaming for free along with the rest of her album on her site, they mean something too.

“Yeah, I smoke pot/ Yeah, I love peace/ But I don’t give a f–k/ I ain’t no hippie,” she sings. Miley’s living as honestly and true-to-herself, and even though she loves weed and peace, you shouldn’t pass her off as a hippie. She has important things to say, like how she spends the rest of her song speaking against violence: “Why is there a sky? And why the pigs run?/ And why these motherf–kers are putting bullets in their guns?”

“Violence is king, but peace is the way/ Someday they’re gonna see it, so here’s what we say: Peace motherf–kers,” she sings.

She doesn’t censor herself because of society’s standards (in the way that we have to here). Instead, she’s telling us all to cut past the bullsh– and be ourselves. But if you think that’s bad, we don’t give a f–k anyway.

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