Singer and actress Miley Cyrus caused a stir at MTV’s Video Music Awards without leaving her seat at the awards ceremony, and no twerking or tongue wiggling was involved, reports The New York Times.
“Instead, the rowdy pop star sent a 22-year-old homeless man in her place — a 180-degree turn toward a serious cause and away from the frothy, twerking performance she offered last year that ignited a global media firestorm,” the story notes.
When Jimmy Fallon announced that Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” had received the award for video of the year, the singer didn’t get on stage to accept it. Instead, a young man approached the microphone.
“My name is Jesse,” he said. “I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving and lost and scared for their lives. I know, because I am one of those people.”
He went on to say, “The music industry will make over $7 billion this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.”
Cyrus was shown weeping in the audience, as “others clapped nervously,” the story adds.
Her decision to send the homeless young man to accept her award was modeled on Marlon Brando’s 1973 acceptance for Best Actor Oscar, when he sent a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to take his award. That was designed to highlight the treatment of Native Americans by the movie industry.
Cyrus also revealed a fundraising campaign to help homeless people 12 to 25 years old find jobs, housing, health care and education, with donors enrolled in a lottery that will award the chance to hang out with her at a tour date in Rio de Janeiro next month.
The Times report adds: “Was Ms. Cyrus’s move a serious turn toward philanthropy? A crass effort to improve her image? ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ envy? All of the above? It was hard to fully understand her motives on Sunday night. It certainly demonstrated a Madonna-level understanding of media manipulation. (Detractors will undoubtedly cringe at some of the particulars: Fixing homelessness by competing to go party in Rio?)”