Miley Cyrus' Inducts Joan Jett To The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame WIth A Speech That's An Ode To Brash Women
This past Saturday, rock music legend and punk queen Joan Jett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Bout freakin' time!) As one of the many young female musicians influenced by Jett's brash musicianship and general existence, Miley Cyrus gave Joan Jett's Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction speech. Gotta give Cyrus a pat on the back with this one. Her speech was a heartfelt account of Jett's powerhouse life in music and an ode to the girl power icon.
Wearing an outfit consisting of a leather jumper and two "JJ" pasties, Cyrus praised Jett as an artist, activist, human being, and feminist powerhouse at the Cleveland ceremony. Many musicians (old and young, male and female) count her as an idol, and Cyrus is among them. Over the course of her speech, Cyrus performed some of The Blackhearts & The Runaways hits ("Crimson & Clover" and "Cherry Bomb," to name a couple) and told fun Joan stories — like the time that a guard at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, mistaking Jett for a man, allowed her access to the male side of the wall. In turn, she may have become the first and only woman to put a prayer in the men's side of the Wailing Wall.
Cyrus also told the story of the first time she met Jet (when they smoked weed together before an Oprah taping; great 420 story for ya), and emphasized the surreal feeling of getting to know your idol as a human being. "I was getting to have this moment with someone that, to me, is Superwoman," said Cyrus. "What Superwoman really should be."
Cyrus also explained,
At first, having this honor to induct Joan Jett into the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was overwhelming. There was so much that I could say and she just had a life in music that is rare. She's had a career that's decades long. She's been the first to do many things and not just as a woman, but just as a badass babe on the planet.
Sure, that last thought may sound a teensy bit repetitive — woman and "badass babe" seem pretty close— but the idea behind it is right. Jett is a feminist figure by anyone's definition. She was the first major female artist to start her own recording label. When she rose to fame in her time with The Runaways, she became a new kind of female teen idol — one who refused to play the wispy ingenue, the sweet-as-pie chick, the deferential nice girl.
She's also been involved in various humanitarian efforts. She's a vocal animal rights activist. Hence, we can agree that Jett has done wonderful things for women, as well as the human race, which seems to be what Cyrus is getting at.
Cyrus closed out her speech by lauding Jett for her refusal to be boxed in by convention and "fighting for freedom" — a most feminist thought. She said,
In all of our lives, all of us will experience people who try to tell us who to be and what to be. F--k those people! Instead of changing for other people, if you don't like how the world is, change it yourself. She made the world evolve, her life and her success is proof that we can self-evolve. I want to thank you for fighting for our freedom, Joan, and I love you so much.
Right on, Miles! Instead of conforming to meet society's expectations, artists should redefine those expectations. By giving those codes of behavior and performance the middle finger, Jett has been doing that for years. She's a symbol of triumphant transgression, and Cyrus definitely captured that with her words. Rock on.
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