Lizzo might be the modern expert on twerking, never afraid to get her “heinie” (as she calls it) out there and get it shaking. And that’s especially important because of the Black history of twerking that has been all but erased from the modern understanding of it, where young white teens are imitating the dance on TikTok with no real understanding of the context they’re appropriating.
That’s part of why Lizzo felt so compelled to make a whole TED Talk about the history of the dance, rather gently bringing up how Miley Cyrus’ lighting rod performance, which included some twerking, at the 2013 VMAs catapulted the dance to mainstream attention — and did so in a way that didn’t do the best job of honoring its origins. And apparently, Miley actually took the conversation in stride, mentioning to Lizzo that she watched the TED Talk herself and “really loved it.”
“I mention Miley Cyrus in my TED Talk,” Lizzo told People in a recent interview. “And I’m very delicate with how I mention her because, at the end of the day, I didn’t want to have any bias in the way I talked about how she brought twerking to mainstream. The messenger is kind of how this thing spread like it did — seeing her at the VMAs. And I saw her recently and she was like, ‘I watched your TED Talk and I really loved it. Thank you for that.'”
Stay classy Miley, that’s the appropriate response. If you haven’t watched it yet, check out Lizzo’s love letter to twerking up top.