Miley Cyrus is being accused of “exploiting” black culture by multimedia journalist Ernest Owens in the wake of her 2018 Grammys performance with Sir Elton John. The former The Voice coach was called out on social media by Owens following her January 28 appearance at the music award show, where the duo performed a duet of Elton’s 1972 hit “Tiny Dancer” together.
After seeing the twosome team up for the stunning performance, Owens claimed on Twitter that he thought Miley “wants to be white again” and had supposedly turned her back on the black musicians she worked with on her 2013 album Bangerz, including producer Michael Len Williams II, known professionally as Mike Will Made It.
“Oh I forgot Miley Cyrus wants to be white again. No more Mike-Will-Made-It ‘and them’ anymore,” Ernest hit back at the star on the 280-character site after seeing her perform with Elton by the piano in a stunning red gown during the big award show.
“Reminded everyday how interchangeable white artists can exploit the culture and then run back to safe spaces of privilege. #GRAMMYs,” he then added in the tweet.
The message accusing Cyrus of “exploiting the culture” has since gained more than 1,300 likes and more than 500 retweets on the social media site, but also inspired a number of mixed responses from Ernest’s followers.
Some made it clear that they agreed with Owens’ take on Cyrus after seeing her at the Grammys, responding to the journalist by supporting his comments.
“Boom! Preach!!” then wrote a third after seeing Ernest’s tweet in the wake of Cyrus’s 2018 Grammy performance.
However, others were instead quick to rush to Miley’s defense following the verbal attack, with many posting photos of the singer sharing a sweet hug with Mike Will Made It, seemingly backstage at the Grammys just hours earlier.
Y’all stay reaching with this girl…. pic.twitter.com/GFPZLHebQ2
— Courtney (@tree_luver) January 29, 2018
— Don’t Take a Knee (@juststandmfs) January 29, 2018
— DrivermanDan (@DrivermanDan) January 29, 2018
“Weird… since this is Miley & Mike Will 3 hours ago. y’all try too hard,” one Cyrus fan hit back amid the accusations, adding a photo of the two sharing a hug. A second, who clearly didn’t agree with the journalist’s take, then responded to Owens, “She can’t sing with him because of the color of his skin? I think you have the problem.”
“Oh please, leave her alone she just switches genres like all artists do. Don’t bring race into it. There are plenty of black artists that do the same,” said another Twitter user in defense of the “Malibu” singer following her appearance at the 2018 Grammys.
Another called the tweet slamming the star “ridiculous.”
Cyrus – who recently paid for a house for The Voice contestant Janice Freeman – hasn’t publicly responded to Owens’ controversial tweet, though she did take to Instagram following her Grammys performance to thank Sir Elton for performing with her during the ceremony.
Miley called their duet an “honor” for her in a sweet message for the British singer, who Rolling Stone confirmed earlier this month has announced that he will be retiring from touring and will instead be spending more time with his family, husband David Furnish and 5-year-old twins Elijah and Zachary.
“I can’t thank you enough for giving me the honor of performing with you tonight at The Grammys!” Cyrus told the legendary singer in the caption of a photo of the two embracing on the Grammy stage. “I’ve loved every moment I’ve spent with you over the years & will cherish each second of your kindness.”
Miley then added in the photo’s caption that Elton inspires her to “keep working hard” before calling for more to be done to combat the AIDs epidemic.