You’ve seen her rise to fame as the young starlet behind Hannah Montana. You’ve seen her grow into the woman who “Can’t Be Tamed,” later riding up on Robin Thicke at an infamous MTV VMAs performance in 2013. She then claimed to everyone that she won’t stop and “We Can’t Stop.” But all throughout, we couldn’t help but notice her talent, musical versatility and unmistakably big heart.
Just this past month, Miley Cyrus has revived her popular “Backyard Sessions,” a series of intimate, stripped down live performance videos she recorded in her backyard just two years ago. This time, she has brought it back in regard to her newly launched Happy Hippie Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Cyrus in order to bring together “young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations.”
Featuring collaborations with well-known female rockers and musicians, from Joan Jett of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, Melanie Safka and, most recently, fellow TV-diva Ariana Grande, Cyrus’ performance videos are infectious.
The energy between her and her special guest artists each give a particularly resonant yet powerful message. Her collaboration with Jett in “Different” transcends age and offers up lines of conviction when they sing, “They treat you rough / But you’re tough enough / And we’re all different.” With singer-songwriter Safka, we see Cyrus reverently looking onto the singer as she performs her lullaby-like (and hauntingly relevant) song “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma.” And, with her collaboration with Grande performing the old-school 1986 Crowded House jam, “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” the girls riff (and flirt) with each other during a musical interlude as they sit upon an inflatable green couch in their onesies.
With these performances, Cyrus not only proves that she can conquer all musical genres–from pop, rock and country–but that her genuine love of music can bring people together.
Cyrus writes in a statement for her charity: “Pointless judgment and its effects are unfortunately something that is way too common. All humans have valid feelings and rights! I want to use my voice as a megaphone to young people everywhere and encourage human evolution.”
With her music, Cyrus has been able to grab both the attention and hearts of listeners worldwide. Her carefree attitude, feel-good serenades and ownership of self as a female has made Cyrus not only a talented entertainer and woman, but also an important individual who seeks to make positive change in the world with her voice.
With each debut of her videos onto Facebook, Cyrus provides a donation link to The Happy Hippie Foundation, which will go directly to help support and bring awareness to vulnerable youth.
“No one should have to hide who they really are, no matter what his or her name, gender, status or orientation. That’s why Happy Hippies are here to say that every life is valuable,” Cyrus writes. “It is our mission to make sure those who question the value of themselves and their lives feel protected and loved by us… which they very much are.”
And, if you aren’t convinced in the power of Cyrus enough, here’s what Facebook user Avery Cameron Clewley has to say: “Everyone wants to say how miley changed and what not, but … one thing Miley didnt change, is her talent. and that’s the area that people should focus on. … I personally love miley, i dont care that she dresses like she does. I honestly love some of her outfits. it’s taking the risk, it’s being creative which is unique. it shows confidence, and it shows self-love. She loves herself. She can laugh at herself. She can enjoy herself.”
And that’s why I’ve always loved Miley. (“You go, girl!”)
A version of this article was published in The New University.