The Way Miley Cyrus ‘Raised Awareness’ For Homeless Youth At The VMAs Reeked Of Macklemore

miley cyrus crying jesse my friends place 2014 vmasMiley Cyrus won the Video of the Year award for “Wrecking Ballduring last night’s VMAs. Which made perfect sense. I never watch music videos and I couldn’t stop watching that one. Sure, the thought of her swinging around naked on a wrecking ball seems so mundane Miley now, but you have to remember that when it debuted last year, we all lost our freaking minds over it. She was naked! On a wrecking ball! For no other reason than she wanted to shock us. And it worked! Consider the entire nation shocked. (Also scarred.)

What didn’t make sense about Miley Cyrus winning that award last night was that she sent up some guy to accept it on her behalf. Even though she was in the audience and fully capable of going up there to collect it herself. As we all know now, the guy turned out to a homeless runaway named Jesse who was there to raise awareness for homeless youth as well as to raise funds for an organization called My Friends Place.

While I’d love to believe that Miley made this decision out of the goodness of her heart, I cannot. It’s a shameless publicity stunt that served its purpose — and that purpose was to shock us. Getting naked and twerking on stage doesn’t quite do it anymore for America, so she had to resort to something even more scandalous than getting naked. And what’s more scandalous for a celebrity than for her to use her moment in the spotlight to highlight a good cause.

Sound familiar? That’s because we’ve seen it before. Remember that time Macklemore, the straightest straighty in music, officiated 33 same-love marriages during the Grammys. And everyone was all like, “thanks for ending homophobia Macklemore!” And he was all modest about it, “aw guys, as a straight dude, this is the least I can do.” And I was like, literally that is the least you can do.

There’s just something about Macklemore, and now Miley, manipulating our emotions under the guise of being a good person that rubs me the wrong way. And before you say that I’m exaggerating by using the word manipulation, look at this GIF. Look at the way she gently dabs her tears as she casually perches to watch Jesse accept her aware, pretending to be unaware of the cameras as well as Katy Perry and Sam Smith’s side eye. Miley is many things, but an actress she is not. (I mean, yes she is technically, but very technically.)

miley cyrus crying 2014 vmas


Or look at the prize for donating, a VIP trip to see her perform in Brazil.

“You can support the cause by making a donation! For every $5 donation, you’ll be entered to win a trip for 2 to Brazil to hang out with me at my show in Rio de Janeiro on Sept 28th. You’ll get the full VIP experience, including 2 of the best seats in the house. #MyFriendsPlace #VMAs2014

On one hand, it doesn’t matter why people donate to a cause as long as they’re donating. On the other hand, you’re not really creating concerned citizens if people are donating for a sweet prize and not for a cause. On the third hand, I’m a curmudgeon who also dismissed the ALS Ice Bucket as an excuse to make a funny Facebook video, only to feel real stupid when it ended up raising millions upon millions of dollars. So maybe Miley isn’t the worst here. Maybe she’ll actually end up making a difference and I’ll be sitting here in a few weeks feeling like a real a-hole.

After all, she definitely did raise awareness for homeless youth last night. Here I am talking about it right now on a pop culture site. And to her credit, it appears that people are actually donating money to the cause and not just “raising awareness.” But the way she went about it just seemed so much more stunt than cause. Hopefully I’m wrong. Hopefully she’s actually committed to this cause and committed to using her celebrity powers for good. That would be nice of a celebrity to do for a change.

(Lead GIF: Tumblr)

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    • k

      you just know she was like “ok be sure to have the cameras on me as i sit under a spotlight at the edge of the stage for 95% of jesse’s speech so the world knows how charitable i am”. she didn’t need to say a word during that whole thing to still make it all about herself. it just reeked of a ploy to redeem herself after singing along with robin thicke to “blurred lines” last year. ugh.

      • Jenni

        I hate the way she just sat on the edge of the stage, pretending to give him his moment.

      • Samantha Escobar

        YES. I think that is what pissed me off the most. She was just posing, glistening her little Visine tears in the spotlight.

      • fantasymother

        Yes, this… exactly. And if she had him accept her award why wasn’t she sitting in her seat instead of on the stage?

      • Jen TheTit Whipper

        If she had said something, if she had been the one saying THIS IS IMPORTANT, I would be less “meh, lame” but she threw that kid up there and said “oh did my good deed, deuces”

    • Olivia Wilson

      Juicy J’s date is also shooting some side-eye her way. And since Juicy J is wearing sunglasses indoors, I’m going to assume that it’s because he wanted to hide all of his side-eyes to Miley during this moment.

      PS- I teared up during Jesse’s speech. Am I a crybaby, was it very moving, or both?

      • Jenni

        I’ll answer your question with a question. I didn’t tear up. Am I sociopath?

      • Olivia Wilson

        Maybe all of our questions can be answered in Emoji form. Let your imagination run wild.

      • Samantha Escobar

        I will pitch this as a column on this website

      • Samantha Escobar

        I’ll answer your question with an answer: yes.

      • Jenni

        I’ll question your answer with an answer: cats.

      • Elizabeth Aspen

        Best. Answer. EVER. You and me, girl – misanthropes, not sociopaths. Wave your misanthropic flag high and vote for Fluffy for president in ’16!

      • Nbl

        A high functioning sociopath?

    • Nbl

      Lets get married and raise cynical children together. We can have Macklemore officiate

      • Jenni

        He’s the only person I know brave enough to pave the way for internet strangers to get married!

      • Nbl

        A true visionary, that man.

    • Jamie Rebecca

      I can’t tell if it was genuine or not, although I’d like to think it was with the tears and whatnot (she’s done a lot of crying this year, no?) however one of my favorite things about this particular GIF is Katy’s face eying her crying like…girl you for real?

      • Jenni

        I love how much shade she’s throwing her.

    • Mollie Goldstein

      I’m all about celebs raising awareness for good causes but for some reason I just could not buy into it! I lost it when he said to go to Miley’s Facebook page. Just seemed to planned out in an attempt to change her public perception again.

      • Jenni

        The scary thing is that it’s working — so many people are soooo moved by what she selflessly did last night.

      • Jen TheTit Whipper

        The kid’s mom has been talking and saying that he moved to LA to be famous and that he has a home to come back to. Of course that may or may not be accurate, but if it is, that’s not the reality for 98% of those who are homeless and really speaks to the fact that it was a PR stunt and not a cause she truly gives a shit about. Which is fine, there is no rule that says you have to have a cause, but don’t fake it.

      • Jenni

        I was just reading that this morning! There’s a difference between being homeless because of abuse, addiction, unstable families etc. and being homeless because you’re an adult pursuing a modeling career.

        I don’t know what’s worse: if Miley knew his background or if she was too lazy to find out his background.

      • Jen TheTit Whipper

        There is HUGE difference. I did my internship with homeless men. They truly have nowhere to go, if they don’t eat at the shelter they don’t eat. Most of them suffered from addiction and/or a mental illness. Only a handful were there from unforeseen circumstances (lay offs etc.) and they stated that if their homelessness had continued they would likely have been addicted to alcohol or another substance as well. Of course this kid’s mom could be full of it, but I’m more inclined to believe Miley was all like “Yea, that’s a good idea, I’ll look compassionate and like I care about something besides me!” and that was the extent of the though put into this.

    • Napoleon

      I think it was fairly obvious that she was trying to create her own “Brando” moment. It’s quite sad that certain celebrities use good causes to focus the attention back on themselves.

    • Nbl

      OH MY GOD YOU GUYS!!!!!! I was just thinking, what the hell does this remind me of? That episode in Arrested Development where Lindsey brings a guy she thought was homeless as her date. Now I can’t stop laughing.

      • Jenni


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    • C. D. Carney

      I read the story but how does a super famous ultra rich pop icon meet a homeless loser douche hipster con artist like this? Further more, how can I meet a girl like Miley and fake her out and take her cash to pay my bail and back court fees :P

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    • Deborah Ludlum

      still want to know if she lets him shit in her backyard like Chaz,s friend?

    • BaSH PR0MPT

      The guy wasn’t even homeless. He was a run away who wanted to ‘make it in Hollywood’ and ‘just hasn’t made it yet,’ he has a family to return to and a home, he just chooses to stay there because he’s a twat.