It is very likely that Miley Cyrus will end up somewhere in a number of “best of 2013” lists, for reasons many still struggle to understand. Maybe for culturally appropriating ‘twerking’ and making it popular with white suburban kids in the US, and probably beyond. At least it was not the South African “pro” twerk team. Miley Cyrus even managed to inspire the American-based Naija Boyz, the Nigerian Weird Al Jankovic due. Basically, Naija Boyz do parody music videos of pop songs, like Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow.” The original “Black and Yellow” was a tribute to the sports teams of the American city Pittsburgh. In Naija Boyz’s hands it becomes a song about dating in Nigeria. Or what they did to Lil Wayne’s “Lollilop,” turned into a suggestive song about Nigerian food. Even Beyonce hasn’t been spared.
Now they’ve done their take on Miley’s “Wrecking Ball.” As Rolling Stone described the visuals at the time: It “… first shows Cyrus in an extreme close-up in front of a blindingly white background; she’s crying as the song begins, and the whole affair recalls Sinead O’Connor’s iconic “Nothing Compares 2 U” video. Later, she’s wearing a white crop top and matching bottoms, smoldering as she carries a massive hammer and walks toward the camera in slow motion.”
Music critics were shocked, to say the least. Rolling Stone again: “… the most shocking moment of the video comes about 75 seconds in, when a nude Cyrus is shown straddling a swinging wrecking ball and lip-synching along to the pop ballad. The 20-year-old smashes more walls and licks the aforementioned sledgehammer before eventually collapsing in the middle of the rubble.” A Guardian critic slammed her for “… exploring the iconography of porn” to break with her former innocent image. Despite these criticisms, the video and the song went viral.
In Naija Boyz’s hands, ‘Wrecking Ball – African Remix’, becomes something else. They sped up the beat and made a spoof that both mocks Miley and takes on a bunch of stereotypes of strict Nigerian parents beating their kids around because of their Miley-inspired behavior. You could read it as the Naija Boyz critically taking on American or western influence on Nigerian youth or critiquing the outmoded parenting methods of Nigerian parents. But the guys were probably just having lots of fun … and Miley happened to make people laugh and inspired them.