Miley Cyrus’ Fight Against Homelessness: Activism or PR Stunt?

(From The Campus Lantern – September 4, 2014) 

At the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on August 24, 2014, Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” won the award for Video of the Year. Instead of going on stage herself, a 22-year old homeless man named Jesse Helt accepted the award for Miley.

Jesse accepted the award “on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now.” He stated, “I know, because I am one of those people.”

Jesse continued, “The music industry will make over $7 billion this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home” (www.nytimes.com).

Jesse’s speech hit home because it took place at the VMAs, an annual award ceremony celebrating the top successes of the music industry. Not only is this an eye-opener, it was especially noteworthy because Miley was the one who put him in the spotlight.

From playing Hannah Montana to twerking at the 2013 VMAs, Miley’s public image has changed quite a bit over the years. However, it seems that she’s recently returned to wearing a halo. Aside from her actions at the VMA, she’s been volunteering at My Friend’s Place, an organization that provides “life-changing services to homeless youth in Los Angeles” (www.myfriendsplace.org). She’s also been tweeting up a storm to her 18.5 million followers lately: About bongs, her new pet pig, and homelessness in America. One of these things is not like the others, and I think all of us are kind of confused at this point.

Is it possible that Miley could post pictures of herself smoking weed and yet still be a good person? Can someone sing lyrics about doing drugs in the bathroom and still care about people who are worse off than her? Even though every other word in her twitter feed is the F-word, can she still want to help the millions of homeless youth in America? Is the sky blue? The answer, I think, is yes. It’s not hard to believe that people, especially celebrities, have different sides of themselves that they show to the public.

Bottom line, it doesn’t matter if Miley’s recent dip into raising awareness about homelessness is sincere or just a cover-up of the considerably immoral actions she’s partaken in in the past; homelessness is a problem that needs to be in the spotlight, and Miley’s support for the cause is doing just that.

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