Before Miley Cyrus hosts the VMAs on Sunday, she has a bone to pick with Nicki Minaj. Speaking to the New York Times, Cyrus weighed in on Nicki Minaj’s complaint that, in snubbing her “Anaconda” video for Video of the Year, MTV gives preferential treatment to her slim-figured white female peers in its highest category. “If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement,” Cyrus says. “You made it about you. Not to sound like a bitch, but that’s like, ‘Eh, I didn’t get my VMA.’”
On how she thinks Minaj should’ve expressed her point, Cyrus had this to say:
If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself. Say: ‘This is the reason why I think it’s important to be nominated. There’s girls everywhere with this body type.’ What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite. I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war. It became Nicki Minaj and Taylor in a fight, so now the story isn’t even on what you wanted it to be about. Now you’ve just given E! News ‘Catfight! Taylor and Nicki Go at It.’”
Miley believes Nicki argued her case about institutional racism impolitely, and therefore, invited other women who make pop music, like Taylor Swift, to take personal offense to her comments. The irony is that Cyrus is one of pop’s most fiercely impolite stars, one who has made it her personal mission to challenge her industry’s gendered stereotypes. For her to dismiss Minaj’s efforts to do likewise regarding how women of color are treated by that same industry, and then give unsolicited advice to a black woman on how she should react when she feels her blackness erased, only further proves Minaj’s original point.