They Did What? – Miley Cyrus

They Did What? is a series dedicated to what the media does not broadcast about your favorite musical artists. I present to you, Miley Cyrus.

“Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.” If you do not know where this quote is from then you have come to the right place. Who could have possibly said this? Well, it is Hannah Montana, a childhood icon from this generation, who happened to be played by Miley Cyrus herself.

If you do not know, Miley Cyrus was a childhood star who starred in her own Disney show, Hannah Montana, that started in 2006 when she was only 13 years old. The show revolved around a girl who was living a double life of being a famous pop star and living a regular life of going to school. This quote is one of her songs from the show called “Nobody’s Perfect.” If you listen to this song, the lyrics are actually a great lesson to teach everyone. Hannah Montana was obviously directed towards young children but this is a lesson that I think many people need to learn today. This song to me mirrors the life Miley has lived, yet it came out years ago before her career flourished. One lesson I took is that you learn from everything in life, even your mistakes and you can see that with Miley’s life.

Nobody’s Perfect.

Many people know Miley from her Disney days, her rebellious days, or know her for being in a long term relationship with Liam Hemsworth that recently ended. These are the things the media focuses on but there is more to Miley than what people may think. 

You may remember a time where Miley was twerking on stage at the 2013 VMAs and making lots of music about partying. People change and go through phases. Miley says, in “Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden, that who she was in the 2013 VMAs made her who she is today. It made her realize that if that many people will talk about her then she needs to bring good to the world so people will talk about that. Miley said that the VMA experience led her to become an activist. She does not think she would have even started her own foundation, which I will explain later on. She has learned to embrace her past because it is a part of her instead of running from her past like she was trying to do with this performance.

“I think when you are a teenager, young adult, you’re trying so hard to be cool or to prove something or to be something away from who you’ve been as a kid. And I guess as I’ve gotten older — even though it’s not who I am now, I’m not afraid of who I used to be.”

Miley Cyrus

The following year after her infamous 2013 VMA performance, Miley did something that touched the hearts of many. Instead of taking in all the praise and basking in the spotlight, Miley allowed for a formerly homeless man to accept the award she won for her song “Wrecking Ball.” The speech put into perspective how much money the music industry makes, yet there are so many homeless people right down the street, especially youth and young adults. Miley was making a statement to the world that we need to help those around us. Miley not accepting her own award shows her unselfish character and how big her heart is for others.

Being a Disney star comes with certain expectations and if someone acts “out of the ordinary” it will receive the attention that would not have happened if they weren’t a Disney star. In order to prove yourself, you have to step out of that box. Being Hannah Montana was the only way people knew Miley. Being this clean-cut teenage girl next door character. The minute she broke that stereotype, the world blew up. How can one expect someone to be the same their whole life or career? People change, people grow up just some people do it differently. Miley had to break the boundary of being just a Disney girl to being a singer, an artist who can make it in the industry.

There is more to Miley than the Disney star.

Miley Cyrus has a giving heart and truly cares for others. If you are not aware there were deadly fires in California this past year that took Miley’s house and many others Miley donated $500,000 to help other wildfire victims and asked for her fans and friends to donate to the Red Cross to help others. Miley could have put all her money into building or buying a new multi-million dollar home for herself. Instead, she was more concerned with helping others first. She knew that she had the money to buy a new home but some of these other people lost everything they had and may not be able to live in a real home for a while.

In 2014 she started her own foundation named Happy Hippie that is dedicated to helping the homeless youth of our country. She is dedicated to helping the homeless because her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, was homeless before he had his big break in the music. According to the website, The Happy Hippie foundation has a mission to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.

“It is essential to our lives to do good for others! The only way we can truly be happy is if we are making others happy! That is this Hippie’s goal!”

Miley Cyrus

According to Happy Hippie, “1.6 million youth are homeless each year.” Furthermore, “40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and family rejection is the most common reason LGBTQ youth experience homelessness.” To make matters worse, about one in every three homeless LBGTQ face rejection at homeless shelters solely because of their orientation. Miley wants acceptance in this world. Being apart of the LGBTQ community herself this is an important issue that Miley wants to fight. Miley has been criticized for being a part of the LGBTQ community. She likes to think of herself as pansexual, which means you are simply attracted to people no matter who they identify as. You like someone because of who they are not their identity.

People will hate you for being different but what you make of that hate is up to you. Miley has pushed past that and embraces who she is. As human beings, we like to put things in a box and give order to everything because that is how we make sense of our world. It is hard for us to understand that there needs to be no labels. Labels come with implications that you may not fit into. There are people in the world who are not just one thing but multiple. In reality, we may all fit into multiple boxes. The acceptance in this world of the LGBTQ world is something Miley is trying to normalize.

Miley explains that her perspective on life has grown since her young adult days. In her cover interview for Elle magazine this year Miley said,

“After the fire, I thought about how we helped more than 120 families who lost their homes. We’ve served nearly 1,300 homeless kids in Hollywood every year since 2014. And last year, we helped 270 kids find housing and provided 32,000 meals. That won’t burn down. That helped me become much more disconnected from things.”

Not only has Miley helped the world around her but she never forgets to advocate to be true to who you are.

Miley has made it a point that she does not care what people think of her but when someone comes after her character she will speak out. As you can see on her Instagram post below. People accused Miley of cheating on Liam when they do not even know what is going on with their lives or know anything of that matter. When there has been a couple like Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus that America has fallen in love with for almost a decade, it is hard for people to wrap their heads around on why anything like this would happen. Especially because not long after they got married is when they decided to split. People are so invested in the lives of celebrities but not in who they are as a person. How can you accuse someone of something if you don’t know who they are? The media is what prompted Miley to even have to write something to the world in the first place. There were false rumors being broadcasted that needed to be set straight.

Click here for Miley’s Instagram

While being in the spotlight Miley turns her hate into positive messages which I think is hard to do. Miley knows people have criticized her for her actions but she doesn’t really care much about herself. She uses that negativity to preach to the world that people need to put this negative energy into something good instead of criticizing her for things that don’t matter. In an NPR interview, Miley says,

“I’m doing what I need to do. I’m working in my community. I’m changing the way people view sexuality. I’m working with suicide prevention programs. I’m feeding people that don’t have food to eat. I’m doing my part as a human. You better go do your part if you’re gonna even have one little opinion about what I do. You better be doing some great things for your community.”

People only talk negatively about Miley because she is different than your mainstream artist. She is not afraid to show her true self to the world.  You have to remember that Miley grew up in the spotlight. Imagine all of the pressure that puts on a little girl. As you grow you are going to make mistakes but that is part of growing up. The whole world knew what Miley was doing and that is what is different from you to her.

Everyone needs to learn something from Miley. Being yourself is the most important thing you can do. If people put hate on you it’s only because they have insecurities about themselves. Do not let people tell you who you are or what to do. That is your own decision. If people are more accepting of others and their differences, our world could truly become a better place. Change is a good thing in which no one can be the same person their whole lives. Remember that “everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.” No one is perfect and what you do with what you learn in life is up to you. If you spread positivity to the world as Miley has, you can help change this world for the better.

Written By: Adrienne Murdock

They Did What? – Shawn Mendes

A series dedicated to what the media does not broadcast about your favorite musical artists. This week I present you, Shawn Mendes.

It is safe to say that you are living under a rock if you have not heard the name Shawn Mendes floating around in pop culture today. You may know him from his hit songs “In my Blood“, “Stitches“, or “Mercy“, or his reputation of being the nice guy with the guitar, or you have heard about him and his new girlfriend Camila Cabello. Either way, I am sure you have heard his name but do you really know the true soul that is Shawn Mendes?

The media often creates a boundary around an artist so they appeal to a particular audience or are always viewed in a certain light. Some people may see Shawn Mendes as just another heartthrob male artist who only sings towards young girls and is not a renowned musical artist with great skill. He is easily marketed in that way but Shawn Mendes adds more to the story than a teen pop heartthrob. I am here to tell you exactly why. He is not all about fame but about the people and fans he can touch in ways only a musician can.

The average person may not know how Shawn Mendes has revealed his true heart to the world, that is why I am here to tell you just how he has done that.

First, let’s talk about how this guy spreads love to anyone and everyone. An aspect of Shawn that only certain people know about is his dedication to helping others. From the very beginning, Shawn has been all about spreading positivity and joy to the world. In fact, just after his very first single, Life of the party, was released he launched a campaign called #NotesFromShawn with Dosomething.org. Shawn wrote this on Instagram back in 2014.

He was advocating for people to spread kindness to others by simply leaving a sticky note with a positive or encouraging note for friends or strangers to see. Shawn said in a Teen Vogue interview back in 2015 that “This campaign is all about the little things. Things as simple as posting a note with ‘You’re amazing’ scribbled on it can really turn someone’s whole day around.” Keep in mind that Shawn just turned 16 when he launched this campaign and barely starting his career, yet he was already using his platform to help others. What 16 year old boy has this mindset?! You may think that his management team told him to start this, but Shawn continues to show what kind of soul he has as time goes on. Fast forward to today. Shawn just recently released his own foundation appropriately named, The Shawn Mendes Foundation. Shawn wrote on Instagram to explain his foundation.

Click here to see the full post and watch the corresponding video.

This is a unique platform because he is giving a voice to his fans and people who want to help change the world.  He is helping people speak their truth who may not have been able to do so before. You can go onto his website to donate to a cause you feel connected to. The Shawn Mendes Foundation works with organizations like the American Red Cross, March for our Lives, Pencils of Promise and many more. Check out the facts over on the Instagram page of what Shawn has already accomplished, while working with the company REVERB, through his foundation. Shawn just changed the game for everyone. Not only is he trying to make this world a better place, but he is sharing his platform with others so they can help too.

Shawn is dedicated to making this world a better place.

Now why does the media not appropriately broadcast this about him? I have no idea. Our world needs to focus on the good and the positivity spread by others. People say there is so much negativity in this world, which is true, but sometimes I think it is how we receive our information and how the media portrays information to us that we get so caught up in the negatives. Shawn might not be the typical artist to get caught up in media but there are still things that receive attention. Now that Shawn has a girlfriend there has been speculation and rumors that his relationship with Camila Cabello is just for PR reasons (false!).

Now that is a completely different topic that you do not want me to get started on. However, this is what the media focuses on. The personal lives of artists that only they should have a choice of if they want to share with the world or not. Media tries to put a negative light on every little thing an artist does. I know it is a part of fame, but the media blow things out of proportion more times than not. Shawn even said in an ET Canada interview “It’s like broken telephone, I say one thing or tweet one thing and a million articles re-write it in a different way. Then by the time you see it, it already went through 50 different platforms and you are reading nothing like what I said.” Shawn shares some insightful thoughts regarding the media and fame. Click here to read and watch the full interview.


Not only is Shawn a kind soul that needs to be cherished forever but he is a talented artist. Music should be for everyone and have no boundaries. Nothing makes me angrier than when someone says that a person is not that talented because of the type of audience they attract. That is again the media putting that in your mind, where did we get the idea that only teenage girls can listen to a good looking talented dude. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone believes that statement but there still are people in the world who do believe that. In addition, there is this slight stigma around you if you listen to a heartthrob male artist and are not a teenage girl. That stigma needs to be broken because everyone should give any artist an opportunity to impress you. People should always listen to music they love no matter what.

There is something different about Shawn.

He sings these hit pop songs but he does it with just him and his guitar or band. There is no added production. Some people may say he is just another Ed Sheeran or John Mayer. In my eyes, he fills a different path from the both of them. He is singing these songs that fill a void in music that only a certain person can fill. Shawn is making these records that have relatable or empowering lyrics with catchy melodies, with these big guitar chords that you can somehow dance or cry to. I feel Shawn is filling many hats with his music. He is the heartthrob male artist no denying that, but he is also a pop idol, singer/songwriter, guitarist, and musician all in one because of all the different music he is producing. He brings a new edge to the pop music world.

There is a connotation that comes with being a male pop star, that I think Shawn is breaking. Often times people believe that pop stars are picked to sing these hit songs because they have this stage presence or can make the song go #1. Shawn is the complete opposite of that. He writes his own songs with a close-knit group of people, his live performances are never lip-synced, and he has more to the story than his biggest pop records. If you do not know what I am talking about please go listen to his albums Handwritten, Illuminate, and his self titled album, Shawn Mendes (in that order),  to see how much he has progressed and you will understand why Shawn is more than a teen pop icon.

How can this guy be so talented, caring, good looking, and successful all in one?

Now you may think this is too good to be true. You may think this guy is just full of himself. Well, I hate to tell you but a person like Shawn exists in the world. Even some of his close peers and friends have expressed their feelings towards him and here are some comments to prove it.

Alessia Cara, who is a fellow Canadian music artist,  just recently toured with Shawn on his world tour and wrote this on her Instagram after her last show opening up for him.

Click here for Alessia’s Instagram and full post

Alessia has a way with words that I think describes Shawn so beautifully. Another comment by Cez Darke, Shawn’s tour manager who is a little bit older than Shawn, says on Instagram:

Click here to see the post and Cez Darke’s Instagram

The love keeps coming. One of Shawn’s favorite musicians John Mayer even said in an interview on air with Andy Cohen that Shawn “is so clear-headed, so clear-minded, he is so earnest in the right way, has a sense of humor in the right way, he has what it takes to go all the way.” One of music’s greatest musicians in the last decade had amazing things to say to the newbie in the industry.

Even people who work with Shawn behind the scenes, like photographers, comment on how nice this guy is.

Click here to see post and for Justin Campell’s Instagram

People who are around Shawn never cease to express how genuine of a soul he truly has. It doesn’t matter how they are interacting, people never have anything bad to say about Shawn. Someone’s true character and integrity as a person truly come out when the cameras are turned off. You can see that with Shawn Mendes. No matter if he is on a red carpet or hanging out with his friends and tour mates, Shawn Mendes is a compassionate human being with genuine care for others.

Spreading love to others is all Shawn wants to do in life.

There needs to be more people like Shawn in this world. Shawn does Q&A’s with fans before every show of his tour. While on tour in LA a fan asked: “How do you want to change the world?” Shawn had the perfect answer of:

“I want to send the most amount of love to anyone all the time. I realize that I am the luckiest person in the entire world because not only have I been given the opportunity to understand how important it is to always be sending love, but I get to stand on stage every night and experience that. I know it sounds deep, but it is really magical.”

Shawn Mendes

How can one not like this man? There are only haters for Shawn Mendes because they are jealous of everything he has done with his life. It is okay, you do not have to be a hardcore fan of his music. However, if you are not a fan of him as a person then I do not know what to say to you. Of course, I do not know him personally but the person he shows to the world is someone with great gratitude for everything he has been given in life. Not many celebrities are able to stay grounded and not let fame affect them as Shawn Mendes has.

In light of what Shawn has done in this world, I encourage everyone who is reading this to spread positivity around you today and be a light. Shawn has this huge platform that can reach millions of people through his music and his fans so you may think it is easy for him to make a difference and you can’t reach anyone. Well, you are wrong. Every act of kindness can make a difference in the world. It is not about the quantity of people you reach but the quality of how you reach people. Spreading love to others is only what we are meant to do on this earth. What is life without human connection and what is life without love? Shawn Mendes oozes love everywhere he goes and that is what needs to be spread in media today.

Written by: Adrienne Murdock