“Maybe it’s just in America, but it seems that if you’re passionate about something, it freaks people out. You’re considered bizarre or eccentric. To me, it just means you know who you are.”
Since she infamously chopped her hair off (how can a haircut be infamous, right?) in 2012, Miley Cyrus has been hated by conservatives and Disney moms alike. People who have read nothing but the title of ridiculously fabricated articles jump to call her crazy, accuse her of worshipping the devil, or (my personal favorite) “it’s people like her who are leading this country straight to hell.” Sure, she twerks on her friends. And, sure, she has been known to stick her tongue out in photos. And, yeah, she even smokes weed. But NEWSFLASH: What average 22-year-old hasn’t? Okay, okay. You’re right. So Miley isn’t your average 22-year-old, but that is no thanks to the list above; she’s a millionaire. Even so, she is no average 22-year-old millionaire either. You can call her crazy, but I’m here to tell you she isn’t. She may seem strange, but that is only because she just so happens to be one of the few who gets it.
You more than likely have no problem recalling Miley’s performance at the 2013 Video Music Awards, complete with Robin Thicke and a foam finger, seeing as social media and major news networks were abuzz about it for weeks. But it seems everyone missed the mind-blowingly rad way in which she chose to accept the VMA for Best Music Video, “Wrecking Ball,” the following year. Instead of taking the stage to make her own speech, her date for the evening accepted the award in her place. Jesse, a homeless youth whom Cyrus had befriended, stood before millions of viewers around the world saying, “Los Angeles, entertainment capital, has the largest population of homeless youth in America. The music industry will make over 7 billion dollars this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home,” while Cyrus looked on in tears. On the red carpet earlier that evening, she had told a reporter that she never realized what an impact she could make until the buzz over last year’s performance. She had never realized the way people listen when she talks. After the ceremony, Miley explained she intends to use her voice to speak for all the kids out there who do not have one. “This is the beginning for me. I’m definitely not an expert or have all the answers….We’re starting small with a small, little place here in L.A. down in Hollywood called My Friends Place. Starting little, you know, and then hopefully it will just chain react.”
And chain react it has. On May 5, she officially launched The Happy Hippie Foundation through Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions featuring the musical talents of Joan Jett, Ariana Grande, and more. The string of videos were released through her Facebook page over the course of two weeks, encouraging viewers to donate toward raising funds to create digital support groups for LGBT youth and their families. The Happy Hippie Foundation is a nonprofit organization on a mission to “rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.” (To learn more, visit www.happyhippies.org).
Most recently, Miley teamed up with Instagram creating a new social justice campaign entitled Happy Hippie Presents: #InstaPride. In an exclusive article, Time describes the campaign as “an effort to boost awareness and acceptance of people across the gender spectrum.” Cyrus spent some time on the other side of the camera one day last month to photograph her twelve subjects. These people are intended to serve as positive examples for those who may be struggling to identify themselves and to be a reference for those unfamiliar with anyone who “doesn’t feel at home in their own body.” #InstaPride was officially launched June 15 to share stories of transgender and gender expansive people from across the U.S., and the stories of their resilience will be highlighted throughout the following weeks. Stay tuned to her Instagram and FB pages to follow along! (To read the entire Time article, click here. http://time.com/3917249/miley-cyrus-instagram-instapride/).
To top it all off, Miss Cyrus was honored with the Inspiration Award at AmfAR’s Gala on June 16. While at the podium, alongside #InstaPride subject Tyler Ford who escorted her that evening, she spoke about the terrible struggles of homeless LGBT youth who fall into prostitution and drug addiction, and told of her surprise at being honored so early in her career. “I’m thinking of tonight as not celebrating what me and Happy Hippie have already done but celebrating what we’re going to do. What we plan on doing in the future. And tonight is not a finish line for us, but it’s a starting point. And I want to work every day to do something good for somebody else so that I feel not only as if this honor has been wasted, but my life.”
Miley Cyrus, cover star of Paper magazine’s summer 2015 edition, explained why the Happy Hippie Foundation is so extremely close to her heart in the recent interview. She herself identifies as sexuality and gender-fluid and discussed coming out to her own mother at age 14. Although her mother accepts and supports her, she told Paper she realizes that not everyone is so lucky which is something she hopes the organization will help to fight.
This is what HelloGiggles.com had to say in a recent article: “Overall, Cyrus’ platform is to foster a greater sense of open-mindedness and acceptance—something that ultimately lifts up and benefits all of us.” In the wake of hate crimes and our own generation’s civil rights movement, it is apparent that America tends to jump to stamp out anything foreign, unfamiliar. Instead of writing Miley Cyrus off as “bizarre” or “eccentric,” read an interview, an article. Get educated. Get involved. She’s doing some major things and wants you to be a part of it. Or, sure, call her crazy. But the craziest thing would be to miss out on learning a thing or two from an enlightened spirit such as her.