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The End of The White Girl (Of course, it happened in Brooklyn)

The End of The White Girl (Of course, it happened in Brooklyn)

I reside in Brooklyn for a reason. Black women run Brooklyn. There are wed mothers, unwed mothers, black women with the fiercest natural hairstyles, permed sisters who let it fall just right, well-educated and high school educated black women. I see an array. Black girls who are partnered up with hipster black boys, Black women who are partnered with hipster white dudes. Lawyer and Doctor black women, fast food working black women- the range. Black women populate the streets of Brooklyn like flowers blossoming in a well-manicured garden. This I love. This is Brooklyn.

So, when I saw Miss Miley & ‘the black music thief’ bring their circus to Brooklyn, I thought- nope, not here you don’t. The backdrop that is Brooklyn was the backdrop for this performance. People were able to see through the charade because of where Miss Miley was. I immediately saw this performance as the end of the “white girl”. This was a feeble attempt to resurrect the shallow, vapid white girl-ness that america has paraded before us for decades. It is clear to me, it is not working anymore.

Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and now Miss Miley illustrate that it is not enough to be a “white girl”, you have to come with something else. See, even our white girls and women in Brooklyn don’t parade their whiteness as a badge. The white women of Brooklyn are understated. The ones who do try and parade their vaginas as the center of the universe, vintage their vamp. The idle, cute blonde who simply has to toss tits or vagina Marilyn Monroe style- isn’t working, anymore.

The black women, women of color and white women in Brooklyn are some of the fiercest women on the planet. Other than parents visiting from out of town, I have yet to see a white woman relying on her “look” to part the seas. That’s over. It’s a new era. The era of ‘Sex In The City’, where black women have to look to Carrie Bradshaw (for heaven’s sake) as a model for life in NYC are over. Even ‘Girls’ hints at a culture of white womanhood that leans toward thoughtfulness and not window dressing. I say “hints at” because, no, they aren’t quite there either.

“Orange Is The New Black”, although disliked by many women of color, illustrates the fact that black women, when placed alongside white women, point out the vapid and frivolous life of the lead character. The women of color on that show, bring the white character into the reality of their lives. A reality that requires gravitas and thoughtfulness. A reality that is plagued with mistreatment, dehumanization and violation. Piper, the lead character, can no longer exist in a ‘do whatever’, ‘be whatever’ world. She has to acknowledge that she is a part of the human family. She is not above it. Some days, she is beneath it. But, she is no longer separated from it.

For this and other reasons, I appreciate that show. The argument that ‘but if it weren’t for the white woman, this story would never have been told’, is true. However, the white woman loses center stage in this show. And women of color and low class white women dominate. As the show evolves, they have to lessen the black characters as comic relief (all characters, at some point, provide the comic relief). This is a gripe. But, I will say, the storyline of some of the black women has been layered and interesting (the execution, sometimes, is quite superficial, but that is a writing issue).

As the show evolves, I expect to see deepened storylines.

The show works because it is about a community of women of all types. It is not about white women or white womanhood. Netflix seems to understand that people of color watch them, also. So, they populate their shows with people of color. Although, I don’t remember seeing a Black woman on ‘House of Cards’ (please correct me if I am mistaken). I want to see more shows that aren’t threatened by black womanhood- as ‘Friends’ was. As ‘Sex In The City’ was. And, as ‘Girls’ is.

I look forward to Issa Rae on HBO. I am so excited about her show that it gives me chills. This could be a bellwether moment in TV for black women. A black woman possessed of intellect, humility and thoughtfulness. No pressure, though. Her voice is solid and it will be refreshing. I am so happy she will have a broader audience. Her character cuts through the ‘downtrodden, weathered, bruised and broken’ black womanhood that we are accustomed to. Although I do not watch ‘Scandal’, I understand why people do. Olivia Pope is not run down and singing a song of victimhood. She is, superficially, sharp. The ‘Awkward Black Girl’, however, is more resonant for me.

Once television and cinema begin to understand that people are hungry to see black womanhood in its various shades, things will improve. We are getting there, slowly. As Black women continue to share our voice in social networking (which, I believe, played a large part in the success of ‘Awkward Black Girl’), black female representation will change. Social networking changes outcome. It allows autonomous and varied voices to have a say. As black women continue to be empowered via social networking a la #solidarityisforwhitewomen and #smartblackwomenoftwitter, the cultural landscape will change.

Miss Miley tasted the power of black womanhood and was overwhelmed by it. She attempted to place herself in the center of black womanhood and she failed miserably. She and the ‘the black music thief’ learned that they need to take their dog and pony show somewhere else. In Brooklyn, we don’t play that sh**.

Follow Tanya Steele on Twitter at @digtanya. Or on facebook at Or visit

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Apparently you need to talk to real men of all races. White women are viewed as a treasure. The only people asserting that black women are in that position "now" are – wait for it – black racists. And I bet even the male black racists still troll for white women.

As a white female I am pursued by men (and even women) of all races. Black men in particular are quite aggressive. It's hard to turn them down too, because the moment I do they play the race card – the only card in the deck for many black Americans.

Miley is just trying to insert herself into hip-hop culture. The real problem with her is that she acts slutty, a problem that many black pop stars (Rihanna, Nikki Minaj) have as well. Black women have been degraded in music videos by black male artists for decades. Nothing new here. Some just complain because Miley is white. If she were black, then we'd hear nothing but crickets chirping on the subject.

Non-black males who pursue black females see them as a fetish, or a cheaper commodity than white females. Black females "ask for less money." Also, many of these men were repeatedly rejected by the white females they originally desired. They turned to another race hoping for success, when the problem lies within.

As a white woman, I've got the world of men by the tail and my experiences traveling through many different areas and meeting many different people proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. No offense to my sisters of any color, but your men are saying it as well. To the creator of the garbage "article" above: Please find a positive, constructive way of dealing with it.


This article proves once again that blacks are the biggest bigots ever. They think about "whiteness and blackness" far more often than white people do. It may come as a shock to you, but most white people don't give a rats azz what you do, look like, whatever. All that nonsense about black women not wanting white women to know they wear wigs, weaves, whatever. Like white women sit around wondering and looking at them! I have been around white women all my life, and never, not once have I ever heard them even commenting on black women, much less their hair. Perhaps you could focus your attention on yourself and stop looking at what others think of you so much. Talk about vapid…@@


The hate spewed in this comment section is disgusting. I can't stand seeing (reading) Black people up in arms when a Black person affirms Black women/men/children/culture/community at the expense of praising and adoring their white counterpart. The writer of this piece is entitled to her observations and opinions as are you, so why do you feel the need to correct her, chastise her writing style and make suggestions that she is unhappy, insecure and whatever other term I've read that attacks her. If most of you spent as much time standing up for legitimate causes impacting black people socially, politically and economically, we probably wouldn't have such a dismal status in this society, still relegated to the role of consumer and the controlled. But, that's neither here nor there. I seriously am just curious about this impulse for my fellow Black citizens to come to the defense of white people who don't need or appreciate our pitiful "support".

Brooklyn is White nowadays

Lets face it… Brooklyn is gentrified as a motherfucker. ALL THE TRADITIONALLY BLACK ENCLAVES ARE GONE. Bedstuy has been hit by the gentrification bug HEAVY. Williamsburg is gone for good…Crown Heights is getting whitened as we speak. About the only black people are getting pushed into Brownsville and East New York. Black women don't run shit at this point.

Agent K

I find it funny that it's ALWAYS the "negative" writeups that get the most comments instead of those that actually deserve it. Why is that?


It is hard to argue against those who take offense against this writeup. It does come across as race baiting.

It is one thing to be critical of the racism that exists within the entertainment industry, to bemoan the dearth of opportunities for black people or other people of color, to be frustrated with slow progress or lack of progress in diversifying the content that comes from Hollywood. And this site is a perfect vehicle to explore these issues. But we shouldn’t be going down the road of writing up columns in which the main purpose seems to be to antagonize a group of people/readers as a result of their race. It’s bad enough when, as a black person, I come across some racist comments written as responses to a particular writeup or post. That adds nothing but shame to this site. But when the write-up itself can be viewed as hateful itself then that should be viewed as unacceptable.

Tanya has talent for words and she has her own unique style. I don’t always agree with her take on things but I always thought she added an interesting take on things. But this post is beneath her and all of us. If she wants to rant that white female characters are put on some sort of pedestal (while ignoring that while people in general are put on such a pedestal) and that there more black female characters need to be placed in equally flattering circumstances then so be it. If she wants to take shots at some white female producers/showrunners on TV who in her view don’t use enough black female characters on their shows (while ignoring the fact that white female showrunners are a pretty rare breed themselves and can’t be expected to correct all wrongs from the jump) then, again, so be it. But when the attitude of the column appears to be “hey, white women, kiss my ass” then we have gone from criticizing a racist industry to resorting to making childish, racist remarks that should have no place on this site. I mean those remarks about black women and Brooklyn? That came across as spiteful, unwarranted and ultimately insecure.

Tanya may not have felt her comments came across that way ; perhaps she thinks I and a handful of others are misinterpreting her intent. But the way I look at it if I went to one of the other sites of Indie Wire, the white ran sites, and I came across a similar diatribe directed at black men, black women or black people I would be ticked off and I think most people would see the writeup as nothing but racism directed towards black folks. And I would hope that the regular white visitors and other writers of those sites would take a stand against it by voicing their displeasure. I would be hypocritical to want something like that to happen for the other IndieW ire sites all the while remaining silent when I came across what I see as prejudicial write-ups on Shadow and Act. We’re better than that. I hope.


There was a Black woman on House of Cards, but she was cynically used to break a teachers' strike when her son was killed in a drive-by. Not so sure that having that Black woman there advanced anything positive.

Agent K

To those against the idea of ass shaking, are you against it under a certain context or against it in general?

C'mon now

Seriously.. this is a confusing, poorly written piece with a sensationalist title just to get hits. The End of the White Girl?? Okay.. tell that to all those rich and professional Black men that seem to keep marrying them. And I have no problem with inter-racial dating, but I'd wager that this author does.


LOL at folks who complain about this post being race-baiting to attract comments but don't realize that they are the ones doing the commenting in the first place.

Y'all crack me. Twenty posts a day everyday and you gang up on one per month that's doesn't need you to gang up on and you ignore the rest that need you to say something about. And then you complain about that one post out of like 500.

Let me give a piece of advice. Complain less about on posts you don't like and comment more on the post you do like and maybe you'll see a change. It's like the movies. Buy tickets to the movies you want to see and the ones that you don't, don't spend money on tickets. With movies speak with your dollars. With blogs speak with your words. SMH


This article by Tanya Steele is race baiting, Miley Cyrus twerking isn't about her co opting anything from African Americans. Cyrus has been harshly criticized people are calling her a whore and a slut. So I don't get why SOME black women are upset? The media are NOT praising Cyrus! I have read numerous articles and Miley is indeed getting criticized for her performance. A lot of critics and online bloggers are calling Cyrus, tacky, cheesy, desperate, and other names. So I don't get Tanya's premise, does she want black women to act like trashy whores twerking at the MTV Awards? Is this what Tanya wants? Would Tanya want Rihanna or Beyonce to dance like skanks just like Cyrus? I don't get it.

Monique A Williams

This piece lacked cohesion and focus. Just a hodgepodge of thoughts that were probably better placed in different pieces she had considered writing initially. Sorry. #jmo


At least Miley doesn't take herself or her performance too seriously… which is more than can be said about the author of this blog. Sadly the behaviours of both do more harm than enlightenment to society.


I don't read S&A as often as many seem to, so I am not familiar with the politics and agendas that seem to be at play. nor have I read Ms. Steele previous writings. Having said that, I agree with you sister Tanya. I don't know what no one else read but, here's what I read. Little Miss Miley got a little taste of sistah-girlhood from somewhere, now since white america is biting off her ass she thinks shes got that twerk, got that thang, got the need to show the world she's grown and nasty. You said, not up in here you don't, I don't think so. White girl, white girl your ass don't shine up here in Brooklynn, so sit yo ass down and get off sister's behinds.

That's what I read… nuff said.


For the past week the Internet has been trying to turn this thing into a cultural watershed moment, and I can't figure out why. Some White women defending Miley's right to assert her sexuality (aka make a fool of herself), and some Black women acting like she took their picture and stole their souls. And ABC News has consulted with a Smart White Lady to scientifically analyze twerking from a scientific and sociological aspect, which is a hoot. I have no plans to watch the foolishness but from the screen caps it looks like she's constantly bending over with her tongue hanging out. My biggest question is, has that "performance" officially been confirmed as twerking by twerk experts? I never heard the word until seeing twerk tutorials (yep they exist) on Youtube about a year ago. Miley probably twerks better than I do (yep I tried-it's good exercise don't judge) and that's ok. Does that make me less Black? Nemesis' comment below is spot on with this nonsense.

And since some Black women are so upset about our imagery being used once again, I don't get why there has been no criticism of the Black women who appeared with Miley. And why is any of it such a hand wringing moment anyway–this has been going on since Elvis Presley, Vanilla Ice, Robin Thicke suing the Gaye family for biting off Marvin and now this chick. Not saying it's ok because it's old news, but..the "end of the White girl"–really? Not as long as Taylor Swift and all the other White women I can't think of are still around. And that's ok too, their existence does not minimize anything I do as a Black woman.

Aside from all that like Tanya, I also look forward to Issa Rae's new show and another type of content that more accurately reflects our diversity.


More race baiting from this site to drum up traffic. How about writing a piece about ALL WOMEN being objectified with the help of Cyrus and women "of color."


I have said it before, and I will continue to say it…… CAN WE GET SOME THUMBS UP AND THUMBS DOWN? A simple plugin.


Seriously, I don't quite get why so many African-American women are up in arms because some wanna-be-grown white child decided to… twerk!

Why are they taking ownership of an overly exaggerated stereotype of black womanhood? Seriously! I've never been taken aside, as a black female, and been taught how to twerk as a cultural rite of passage or anything. Hell, I only just found out that twerking was, supposedly, my culture and birthright! I thought it belonged to video hoochies and all those who aspired to video hoochiedom – thanks mainly to certain kinds of hip-hop videos from the 90s onwards.

Oh, wait… I get it. Popular hip-hop (itself an expropriation of a concious black movement to promote rampant black sociopathy) = the totality of black culture; ergo, black women dancing lewdly in their drawers = black women's contribution to world culture.

I'm sorry, stop taking ownership of the shit that's been used against you for years and let the white girl demean herself doing it if she wants to.


Am i understanding this post? Are you saying that Miley's shenanigans were somehow proof of how great black women are? And now mainstream media is acknowledging it and your proof is Miley and her tongue?


What is a "white girl" and what was the end?

"The white women of Brooklyn are understated. The ones who do try and parade their vaginas as the center of the universe, vintage their vamp. The idle, cute blonde who simply has to toss tits or vagina Marilyn Monroe style- isn't working, anymore."
^^^Huh? All white women in Brooklyn? Isn't working for whom?

"People were able to see through the charade because of where Miss Miley was."
^^^What people? How do you know? Any anecdotes, or is this just your opinion?

"She and the 'the black music thief' learned that they need to take their dog and pony show somewhere else."
^^^How do you know what they learned? Miley seems pretty impressed with herself.

"Even 'Girls' hints at a culture of white womanhood that leans toward thoughtfulness and not window dressing."
^^^What does this mean?

What's your thesis? I'm confused. White girls ended…and of course it happened in Brooklyn. Why? How? Is Brooklyn a metaphor, or are you being literal? What does any of it have to do with Netflix or Olivia Pope?

I'm not a Miley supporter, I just don't understand the piece.


I don't understand some black Americans are so upset? Do people WANT young black female celebrities to act like sluts at the MTV Awards? Is this what people want? Because that's what people are calling Miley Cyrus she's being called a whore and slut.

Why people are saying Miley Cyrus is getting away with her rauchy performance at the MTV Awards? Cyrus has been criticized by MANY PEOPLE for her actions. I don't think Miley is getting any applause or approval just because she's white.


There has always been a large faction of whites in this country, and to a large extant, around the world, who have identified artistic, physical and moral freedom with blackness. It is in reality the roots of the minstral show: A need to experience, no matter how absurdly awkward or exagerated, the exhileration and adreniline rush of participting in something outside the boundries of acceptable whiteness.


What did I just read?

Mark & Darla

Tanya what is the purpose for this post, it only heigthen the image that black women are angry all the time.

It is as if you watch a video clip of Miley Cyrus twerking on the internet, became jealousy and decided society was ignoring and disrespecting black women.

Me myself and I have yet to watch the Miley twerking performance and probably never will.


White women can do what ever the hell they want to do, and get away with it. Case and point… Hugh Hefner's porn reality show. The Sooner Black women stop concerning themselves with what White women do, the better we will be. Although I went out of my way to comment, I'm really sick and tired of these articles further pointing out what seems to be an obsession Black women have with white women, except for myself and the women in my family.


Blutopaz: yo I think I've read your comment over 10 times now and I utterly feel the venom running through your fingers as you typed it.

FLASHback to jr. High I'm on the playground safely posted up behind you yelling with hands raised "Now What, sucka!" HA!!!


Thank you for this article! Cyrus did everything except put a saddle on that young lady and ride. Foolery… a hot… no, a cold mess.

Miles Ellison

So when are these empowered black women going to stop supporting the reality TV porn that dominates cable?


I don't understand you black Americans, you always got SOMETHING to complain about. Seriously, get a life! Miley Cyrus was just dancing, since when did black people own twerking? Miley was doing what Madonna did in 1983 when she was dancing on the stage at the first MTV awards in a wedding dress. Madonna rolled around exposing her panties on stage, she shocked America and went on to become a big star. Miley Cyrus is just trying to break free of her cheesy Hanna Montana image.

First L

I got the inkling that Miley was in the land of plenty as she went off dancing in the 'dance hall' (stage.) Of all the ills I saw wrong with her performance, I must say that by the look on her face, she was in goddess Heaven. She look like she founds found some nurturing friends and will be playing in their 'yard' for years to come.


"well-educated and high school educated black women."

Don't you mean "college-educated", instead of "well-educated"? Plenty of y'all went to college and didn't learn too well.

And how are you gonna say "black women run Brooklyn"? Didn't Spike Lee just tell us how Brooklyn is being overrun by white people and their unleashed dogs?

Tanya Steele is a poser. Don't buy into her rhetoric.


When the rest of the blackwomen in the U.S. start being like those the author discribe in Brooklyn then blackwomen hood will move forward. As for Miley tasting the power of black womenhood, Realy by trying to Twerk. When black women start to identify themselves beyond oversexualization of themselves as per twerking and Olivia Pope (negro bed wench) then black women hood will move forward even more.


Lol @ 'jaysmack' (uh, right) just INVENTING statistics, and the assertion about white women that 'other women have been idolizing them forever': you are so sadly mistaken, or maybe (probably) profusely fantasizing. I'm wondering what world you live in…Heh…


…and another black woman writing on the miley cyrus-robin thicke performance without at all remarking on what the swirlers participation in that minstrel show might mean for 'the beyond-black-and-white movement'. what the hell was the world's most famous black woman loving white hipster dude doing in that assault on black people? not a mention. the ways some black people, and 'sophisticated' women particularly, protect whiteness is truly amazing. the silence is deafening.


Well written, sharp and brilliant. Thank you .

Tichaona Chinyelu

Wow. The author doesn't watch Scandal but is all over Orange is the New Black. Very interesting…and contradictory.


I don't expect white society to stop putting their women on a pedestal anytime soon and why should they stop? Its a significant part of Western culture to put their women on a pedestal. The issue is that black feminity is devalued and demeaned and it starts in our own communities. Look at how many people defended Chris Brown during the Rihanna scandal and wanted to blame her and excuse him? I can't start to be upset at white society for not valuing black women when many in the black community don't seem to value black women either. If we truly make a stand that it is unacceptable to demean black women, the larger society will listen.


Nicely written article, it has a poetic feel to it and hits damn near every nail on the head. I do hope though this is the first and last article dealing with Miley Cyrus I see on S&A. The amount of press she gets elsewhere is bad enough. I don't need her affecting where I get my Black entertainment news as well.


Preach on. Someone finally said it.

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