People have many opinions about Miley Cyrus. They have called her all sorts of names and bashed her as she has transformed from a tween Disney princess to an adventurous and "wild" persona in the public eye. But in the end, Miley Cyrus is a 22-year-old woman who is smart, talented, and an adult who has the right to be whoever she wants to be and do whatever she wants to do. I have always respected her for her strong sense of self and in a move that will prove many haters wrong, Miley Cyrus launched a new charity, the Happy Hippie Foundation, whose goal is to "bring awareness towards issues affecting homeless youth and other vulnerable populations such as the LGBT youth community."
Cyrus has clearly never shied away from sharing her very personal antics via social media, most recently showing off her hot pink dyed underarms and multiple tattooing sessions with her most recent BFF and collaborator, The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne. Although she has repeatedly received negative attention for these displays, Cyrus has only continued to be true to herself and has shot down any attempts to make her change. So while the singer was apparently taking a break from music and seemingly "up to no good" she's really been working hard behind the scenes to launch her foundation, and the clues have been around for a few months.
This past VMAs, most people were waiting with baited breath to see Cyrus act up on stage again, considering that whole "Blurred Lines" spectacle in 2013. But she did something no one would expect, and after winning her award for video of the year, a mysterious young man went on stage to accept it for her. It was revealed that he was a homeless youth named Jesse Helt, and Cyrus chose to use that time to highlight the homeless shelter, My Friends Place. She then had to react to the media focusing on Helt's past. But as they say, no press is bad press, and she ended up raising hundreds of thousands for the shelter.
Being a woman of her word, Cyrus has spent the last few months sneakily preparing and organizing the launch of Happy Hippie right under all of our noses. Back in February, Ariana Grande posted a photo of herself with Cyrus, working on a special project as part of the Happy Hippie Foundation.
Along with the news of the official launch of the foundation on May 5, Cyrus shared on Facebook that she would be hosting a new edition of her Backyard Sessions, to raise funds for LGBT youth and their families. The first video dropped on Tuesday and features a collaboration with Joan Jett of the song "Different" to also raise awareness for the cause. Of the collaboration, Jett told Rolling Stone, "I think what Miley's doing is wonderful and important to help people find their authentic selves... I'm proud to be a part of it."
Along with Grande and Jett, Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace and Melanie Safka are among the other artists who will make an exclusive backyard session video. Each video will debut exclusively on Facebook and will give fans the option to donate toward the Happy Hippie Foundation. Cyrus said in a statement,
All humans have valid feelings and rights! I want to use my voice as a megaphone to young people everywhere and encourage human evolution...No one should have to hide who they really are, no matter what his or her name, gender or status. That’s why Happy Hippies are here to say that every life is valuable!
That is something I think we can all agree on.