Many people are none-too-pleased with Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour, but it’s more than just the racy costumes and raunchy dancing being criticized. Ever since her VMAs performance, the 21-year-old has also come under fire for using little people and black dancers in her performances.
“It’s just really funny how serious people take it,” she said in an interview with MSNBC. “They’re like, ‘You’re racist!’ And I’m like, literally, we’re a bunch of kids dancing around in bear suits. We don’t do choreography. The girls we’re dancing with, they’re just, like, dancing, doing these cute little moves — and they’re awesome dancers on their own. It’s not even me telling them how to be.”
The “We Can’t Stop” singer made it clear that she doesn’t feel she’s “exploiting” little people in her show. “We’re making them feel sexual and beautiful,” she added. “If you met Brittany, who is one of our amazing little people that’s with us — we’re all about lifting her up and making her feel so sexy all the time. And having her dance! Because she’s actually an awesome dancer.”
After the VMA performance, Miley’s former backup dancer, Hollis Jane, called the experience degrading. “I’ve never done anything performance-wise focused on being a little person,” she admitted. “I was in the bear costume, in a mask, so you can’t necessarily see my face. I think if you put anybody behind a mask or behind something like that, you’re going to feel like you’re losing your identity, essentially.”
Still, Hollis said she doesn’t blame Miley, and wasn’t trying to call her out when discussing the situation. “It’s more of a call to action, like, little people need to stop being seen as just jokes,” she explained.