Celebrities / Culture

Miley Cyrus and the Happy Hippie Foundation

turgently My daughter loves Miley Cyrus and has for a long time. She liked her as Hannah Montana, but her love for Miley really grew as she began to shed that persona and the “good girl” ideals that went along with it. As Miley’s behavior and appearance became more outlandish, my daughter loved her more. Maybe my daughter is a contrarian and just wanted to love the singer everyone was starting to hate. Maybe she liked seeing a girl go wild. Maybe there is something about Miley that reminds her of herself. I don’t know, and there is certainly no specific reason that she’s been able to articulate. When I ask, she just shrugs her shoulders and says, “I just like her. She’s misunderstood.”

My son has said many times, “Miley Cyrus is a terrible role model!” and that may be true, too. But I will never condemn a woman for the choices she makes in an industry that I know I’ll never understand. I will talk about her music and choices and behavior but not her worth as a person. And the other thing about Miley? She is quite talented.

If you strip away studio production for many vocalists today, there isn’t much left. Just about any voice can be packaged and presented to the world as a musical product. But Miley Cyrus can hold her own without heavy production with her raw and unique voice. If you doubt, take a few minutes and listen to this beautiful cover of Bob Dylan’s You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go:

And if you haven’t checked out her Backyard Sessions, you should. She does a cover of Jolene that puts her godmother, Dolly Parton, to shame.

Most recently, Miley has turned her attention to the issue of youth homelessness by founding a non-profit called the Happy Hippie Foundation with the mission “to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth, and other vulnerable populations.” Regardless of the impact the foundation itself might have on the issues facing homeless youth, her willingness to call attention to the topic as well as providing a list of resources may be just the lifeline that some of her young fans may need.

To celebrate the announcement of her foundation, she has a whole new set of backyard sessions including performances with Melanie Safka, Joan Jett, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me, and Ariana Grande. I had to include the duet with Ariana Grande here, partly because they are dressed in onesies but mostly because Don’t Dream It’s Over takes me back to my high school days. Yeah, I’m old but whatever.

My daughter loves Miley Cyrus. I was fine with that before but even more so now. It seems Miley may be finally figuring out how to use her power for something good in the world.


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