My kids were already adults when Miley Cyrus rose to child star fame on the Disney Channel. I watched her performance a few months ago at the MTV Video Music Awards and found it dirty, disgusting and over the top, but isn’t that the point? Isn’t the goal of the performers on that show to be the one act everyone is talking about the next day?
From that perspective, I think she accomplished a lot as we are all still discussing it and her. Many may pass judgement over her outfits, lifestyle and antics, but I get the feeling we are witnessing a brilliant, carefully planned process by which the former kiddie star becomes an grown-up superstar, making even more money for her and her handlers.
I put it to you, Miley Cyrus is no more controversial today than Josephine Baker was in her day.
Following in the footsteps of Frank Sinatra and Elvis
Controversy sells and it’s nothing new in the music world. In 1944, I can remember when Frank Sinatra’s fans rioted in New York City and his management was known to hire good screamers to show up at his concerts. When Elvis first appeared on early TV shows like Ed Sullivan and Milton Berle in the 1950s, cameras were only allowed to film him from the waist up, as his hip movements were considered too sexual. Press agents quickly spread the news and it made him even more attractive to fans and sold more albums. Even back in the 1920s, Josephine Baker shocked open-minded Parisians with her half-nude performances and exotic lifestyle. At the height of her fame she lived in a castle, was known to date both men and women, and owned a leopard, chimp, pig, snake, goat, assorted birds, fish, dogs and cats. Each decade of music has seen performers use sex and outrageousness to sell albums, Miley isn’t the first and won’t be the last.
I will say I think there’s a serious lack of parental guidance for Cyrus, but that started at the point when she was allowed to enter show business. Is Miley Cyrus a role model? She sure cashed all those Disney checks while portraying one to millions of young girls. I think that’s the difficult problem many families will now be facing when their pre-teen girls want to go see Cyrus in concert during her “Bangerz” tour, which we all now know is not appropriate for anyone under 18.