The pop star regarded as controversial for her sexual antics had a 22-year-old homeless man accept her MTV Video Music Award in her place Sunday night at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

The man, who identified himself as “Jesse,” accepted the award “on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know,” he said, “because I am one of these people.

“I have survived in shelters all over this city,” he continued, as Cyrus tearfully looked on. “I have cleaned your hotel rooms. I have been an extra in your movies. I have been an extra in your life. Though I may have been invisible to you on the streets, I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight.”

Jesse noted that the music industry will make over $7 billion in 2014 while 54,000 residents of L.A. County will remain without a secure place to sleep. He ended by urging listeners to “make a powerful change in the world” by going to Cyrus’ Facebook page. A post there reads, “You can support the cause by making a donation here. … For every $5 donation, you’ll be entered to win a trip for 2 to Brazil to hang out with me at my show in Rio de Janeiro on Sept 28th. You’ll get the full VIP experience, including 2 of the best seats in the house.”

Among the variety of reactions to Cyrus’ step, The New York Times asked:

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?)

In any case, let’s hope it brings positive change to the problem of homelessness in the United States. View the video below.


— Posted by Donald Kaufman


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