Will Miley's Twerking Encourage 'Unsolicited Blackness'?

In a piece for Shadow and Act, Phill Branch worries that Miley Cyrus' twerking debacle could lead to random, socially awkward encounters between blacks and whites. One possibility? Being twerked at without permission.

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Phill Branch, writing at Shadow and Act, worries that Miley Cyrus' twerking debacle could lead to random acts of "blackness" by whites. "I just hope it doesn't lead to me being twerked at without my permission," he writes.

The moment Hoda Kotb or Barbara Walters grabs hold of some formerly underground colloquialism or dance move, I brace myself. Anything with a hint of Black coolness that crosses over too far into the mainstream, usually spells trouble. I don’t have a problem with Miley Cyrus twerking. I just hope it doesn’t lead to me being twerked at without my permission.

I find myself deflecting random acts of slang, exaggerated neck movements and chicken recipes on a regular basis. Thankfully, I’ve cultivated a group of diverse friends who would never do something like randomly pop-lock in my face, but that doesn’t save me from strangers and coworkers.

Coworkers and colleagues tend to be worse than strangers when it comes to “unsolicited ‘blackness’.” Strangers don’t quite know if you might slap the [sh-- out] of them, but the people you work with think you’re a different kind of Black, because you laugh at their jokes and talk with them about Downton Abbey.

At a writing retreat recently, I joined some new colleagues at a cafeteria table for breakfast. Before I could adjust myself in my seat, one them asked me, “Do you think we’ll have fried chicken and waffles tomorrow?” I was confused. We had never had any type of poultry talk. I didn’t even have eggs on my plate.

Read Phill Branch's entire piece at Shadow and Act.

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