May 15, 2019
Hannah Montana is back, sort of. And this time she may have a lot more to say.
Miley Cyrus appeared in the trailer for the upcoming season of “Black Mirror,” and while the pop star and erstwhile actress may seem like a strange addition, she could be a perfect fit for the dystopian Netflix series.

In the first season's second episode of the British sci-fi show, a woman auditions to become a singer through a televised talent contest. The judges, although impressed by her voice, are more impressed by how much money she can earn for them, and they push the woman toward smutty entertainment for more cash.
Cyrus would know what that’s like. She came of age in an industry that encouraged and enabled her topless Annie Leibovitz-shot magazine cover in 2009, when she was just 15 years old, and the 2013 “Wrecking Ball” video, shot by a photographer who has, unsurprisingly, been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment. Cyrus may have thought she was expressing her individuality, but photographers and producers in the industry exploited her image for clicks.
So Cyrus’ pink-haired appearance on Season 5 of "Black Mirror," out June 5, could be a perfect fit for a woman who’s run through the gamut of celebrity exploitation. If the show places Cyrus in the right scenario, her presence will become a powerful reminder of its central topic: the danger of growing technology and diminishing humanity.
"Black Mirror" explores the hazards of technology in seemingly disconnected, episodic stories. Each episode explores a question: What if we could replay memories like movies in our heads (“The Entire History of You”)? Or resurrect our loved ones through artificial intelligence (“Be Right Back”)? Or have the ability to blur out any disturbing content our children might see (“Arkangel”)?
If technology advances faster than our ability to align our morality with its developing dilemmas, "Black Mirror" shows what that dichotomy could look like, and how terrible it could be.
In “Fifteen Million Merits,” an aspiring singer loses her dream, and another character’s attempt at authenticity backfires: His expression of genuine emotion on television is packaged and played over and over for cash.
Cyrus has had her own struggles with authenticity. When she returned to cleaner country music with “Malibu,” she was blasted for expressing an opinion of her own and rejecting sexism in other genres of music. After she called out hip-hop lyrics in 2017 for being superficial and misogynistic (“It was too much ‘Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my c--k’”), she was criticized for her “tone deaf” misunderstanding of the genre.
Fans and consumers crave authenticity, yet we often shut it down when we see it. When the upcoming season of "Black Mirror" is released, hopefully we’ll see Cyrus in a role she can relate to — one that addresses the way producers and consumers forgo authentic talent in favor of pretty-looking vapor.
Her presence on the show may serve as a reminder: If we don’t want to wake up in the twisted world of "Black Mirror," we should consider letting public figures be a little more authentic instead of exploiting so many of the things they do and say.
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