While viewers unfamiliar with “twerking” found Miley Cyrus’s Sunday VMA performance shocking or distasteful, viewers with professional twerking expertise–such as Freddie Ross, aka Big Freedia–found it lackluster.
Big Freedia, a New Orleans hip-hop artist known for popularizing the twerk-heavy “bounce” subgenre, knows a lot about the booty-clapping dance move recently trending among young women. And in an interview with Fuse, Freedia, who describes himself as “the Queen of Twerking,” sent a message to Miley: you’re doing it wrong.
“She’s trying to twerk, but don’t know how to twerk,” Freedia accused. “It’s become offensive to a lot of people who’ve been twerking and shaking their asses for years, especially in the black culture,” he explained.
Ross has been working as a music artist and dancer since the 1990s, and his recent rise to modest fame came without nepotism, unlike Cyrus’s tween superstardom. In the interview, he accused the now-20-year-old of a “bandwagon” approach to twerking, which has been around since before Miley was born.
“[I]t’s offensive to black culture and black women who’ve been twerking for years,” Freedia said. “Every time we do something, people want to snatch it and run with it and put their name on it.”
He reiterated that Cyrus and her generation’s failure to appreciate the history and artistry of twerking shows in their poor technique: “they still don’t even have the moves down yet. Just get me and Miley together so I could give her ass some lessons.”
Asked specifically where the Disney Channel alumna went wrong, Freedia responded, “she didn’t have any butt control.”
“[W]e have a dance in bounce music called ‘exercising’ where you just open your legs and shake your butt a little bit from side to side,” he elucidated. “It was that part she did in front of Robin Thicke, but she still didn’t even get that right… She needs more practice.”
Watch the music video for Big Freedia’s “Y’all Get Back Now.”