Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke during the MTV Video Music Awards (screenshot from
Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke during the MTV Video Music Awards (screenshot from

In a piece for Disrupting Dinner Parties, Dominique Hazzard celebrates "twerking" — the dance rooted in black culture — while calling out white artists, like Miley Cyrus onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards, who appropriate it. She says the dominant culture has associated twerking with hypersexualization, which has caused people to demonize it, not celebrate it.

US weekly said Miley Cyrus is the “Empress of Twerking.” Let me tell you something. If anybody was the Empress of Twerking, it was the talented and world renown Josephine Baker.

Or perhaps these amazing Ugandan dancers I had the privilege of seeing perform live outside of Kampala.

Maybe these Nigerian women (and men!) dancing at a wedding while elders shower them with money.

There is no fundamental difference between any of these people except that a racist dominant culture has convinced us to not celebrate the latter, has made us ashamed of things We created by projecting hypersexualization and deviance onto them.

And to make things worse, “twerking” (among MANY other aspects of black culture) has been appropriated by white artists who want to use blackness and black bodies as props and tools to express their “edginess” or rebellion or whatever …


Read Dominique Hazzard's entire piece at Disrupting Dinner Parties.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.


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