Have you ever had that oh so exciting conversation around the dinner table or water cooler about Miley Cyrus and whatever body part she exposed on TV this week? My favorite part of those is when the conversation turns to Miley’s dad, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame. Originally relegated to the dustbin of history as a one-hit wonder, he’s now back in the spotlight again if only so we can ask, “I wonder what her poor father Billy Ray thinks of all this behavior?”
Turns out, he’s pretty okay with everything. Via NME:
Miley Cyrus’ father Billy Ray Cyrus has told the singer to “forget the negativity and the haters”. Following the criticism, Billy Ray Cyrus said to E! News, “We’ve always been very open-minded… She’s rocking and rolling and having a good time. What the world needs is love. There’s too much hate… The world needs positive influences.”
He continued, “Even when she was a little girl, we told her, ‘Hey, baby, do what you do and have fun doing it. Do it because you love it, not because you have to’. Seeing her happy is the greatest thing ever.”
Aww, what a sweet and terrible thing to say, Dad. Sweet because damn straight you should back your daughter up and encourage her to navigate the ridiculous seas of celebrity in whatever way makes her happy. But terrible in that it’s such a generic “you do you so long as it makes you happy” answer that you could deliver it to any under-employed coffee shop musician without changing a word, and it’d still fit. It doesn’t even begin to acknowledge how impressive Miley’s past couple years of stardom and pop culture manipulation have been.
She’s doing more than just “rocking and rolling and having a good time.” There’s a lot of very self-aware stuff going on in how she’s marketing herself and battling against body-shamers and prudes lately. The Miley you see half-naked with her tongue sticking out is just one very intentional depiction of her personality, even if that’s all the media is interested in showing us. I’m not saying she’s Susan B. Anthony or anything, but she’s got her own thing going on that is definitely worth respecting. I’m sure Billy Ray would agree, but I just thought it was worth putting out there explicitly.