Twerkers Beware: Juicy J Thinks Reading is Fundamental

Patron Saint of Hustlin Hood Chicks


Yesterday, Juicy J announced the winner of the $50,000 twerking scholarship that he began advertising in October in a partnership with World Star Hip Hop.


The winner, 19 year old biology major Zaire Holmes distinguished herself from many other applicants by deciding not to twerk.

It turns out twerking was not required.


Congratulations are in order for Ms. Holmes. She is not only a student, but also a full time single mom, with a clear cut set of goals for becoming a doctor and achieving her dreams. That’s awesome and I  am peacock proud of the sister for doing the damn thing!

But I’m absolutely incensed at Juicy J for even daring to invoke respectability politics when announcing his choice of winner.

In the opening scene of the video, Juicy J says, “Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money and I don’t want to waste it on just some girl twerking her ass. You don’t deserve it.”

Um what?! No sir. No fucking sir. You invited women to twerk, all while drumming up free publicity for your otherwise unremarkable song “Scholarship,” which is about a woman who pays her way through school by dancing.

Zaire says at the end of the video, “a lot of people thought you had to twerk but you just had to read the rules.” And Juicy J chimes right in, “See that’s what you get for shaking your ass and thinking you were gone get some money. It’s not always about shaking your ass.”

Now look, I know this shit seems clever, but color me unimpressed. Zaire was clearly a deserving candidate, but that does not mean that the scores of women who showed off their twerking skills deserved to be shamed or to have Juicy J’s whack ass insinuate that they were stupid.

I mean look, perhaps it was wrong of us not to recognize the master mind behind “Bands A Make Her Dance,” was incapable of noble intentions toward sisters hustling trying to make it. Who knew that he would use this scholarship as a sick experiment to add credibility to his premise, (i.e. girls will dance for money.)?

But that is the thing we should be clear about. Juicy J wanted girls to twerk, framed it as a twerking competition, and then had the nerve to try to make a ratchet project respectable not by simply taking responsibility for his choice but rather by shaming the sisters who participated.

My good friend Dr. Treva Lindsey noted that in many ways his refusal to choose a woman who twerked and his choice to just reduce their videos down to a mindless shaking of ass constituted “blatant usurping of any of the power the women in videos exercised in creating their own narratives about financing their education. We all knew the scholarship was a problematic from its inception, but damn if some of these hip hop generation women didn’t enter into that problematic space and find a way to resist and explore. Now we shaming??? GTFOH.”


Yes, many of these women twerked, but they twerked on their own terms, they twerked while reading Dorothy Roberts, they twerked with friends, they twerked for enjoyment.
So while Juicy J might have capitulated to calls to make his process more “respectable” by not requiring a girl to shake her ass for money, he also undercut that by shaming the women who did exactly what he asked them to do.

He seems to have some sick, twisted Captain Save a Ho complex, wherein he wants to be a Sugar Daddy for some girl from the hood, a la E-40. But since he doesn’t fundamentally respect the girls who dance in the club for money, he deems them all unworthy of being saved through his $50 thousand dollar gift.

Like the Project Pat remix to E-40, Juicy J’s snub screams “don’t save her! She don’t wanna be saved.”

Sexism warps the mind and the dulls the thinking. Clearly.

Some part of me thinks that we feminists got what we deserved: our willingness to keep on trying to resist and subvert patriarchy often only ends up showing us how much we don’t control the terms of the conversation. And maybe our goal should not just be resistance any longer, but fullscale revolt, because in this instance, Black women got played. But we’re still figuring out what revolution looks like, and unfortunately we still believe these sexist assholes are redeemable and mean us some good.

Sexism doesn’t work that way though. Or rather it works exactly this way. He gives out a few crumbs to Zaire, and transforms her life. She is exceptional and he gets to be the Patron Saint of Hustlin Hood Chicks. All the while, his contempt for women in general and sex workers in particular remains in check and thinly veiled.

Oh and I’m not here for anybody talking about “they shoulda read the fine print.” Juicy J knew what he was doing, and if your goal is to give a scholarship, then don’t act like you are asking trick questions in a Mensa contest. You’re not that dude, J. Stay in your lane.

In the end, Juicy J switched things up, invoked respectability, invited a kind of derisiveness towards twerkers, and thought he would come out looking like a stand up guy.

Not so I say.

This is deeply fucked up and we should not fall for it.

Women who twerk for money are not stupid. Rather than blaming twerkers, I think our eyes should be squarely on Juicy J. He came up with this brainchild, got to watch countless women shake their ass for free mind you, and then did what dudes do best: blame women for being stupid enough to disrespect themselves.

But let’s remember he had money and power and he used it target women without money and power. Getting mad at them for making the “wrong choice” to participate absolves Juicy J of using male privilege and money and to set up a rigged game.

So don’t fall for the okey doke. Juicy J is a sexist. We already knew that. And he participated in the worst of kind of exploitation by getting working class sisters who really needed the help to participate in his contest.

I’m glad Zaire has the funds she needs to become a doctor, but Juicy J gets NO RESPECT. He might win some, but he just lost one.


44 thoughts on “Twerkers Beware: Juicy J Thinks Reading is Fundamental

  1. “But let’s remember he had money and power and he used it target women without money and power.”

    That sums it up perfectly! I love this piece. Thank you

  2. This is an interestingly ironic article. In setting up Juicy J as an opportunist or someone who exploits the women who chose to dance to win the scholarship, are you not also shaming those women’s behavior? If he had asked them to send video of them cooking or running in a straight line and this young girl still won without doing so, would you be as upset? I think sometimes we may be trying to help someone and end up passing more judgement than anything else. It happens to our International sisters all the time.

    What is the solution he could have followed that would prevent you from writing this article?

    Also, when I listened to this video, I heard him say that one shouldn’t expect money from shaking their behind. He didn’t imply anyone was worthless or less than. I think that is a valid point, that we as feminists have been trying to promote. Don’t we WANT girls to hear that they can reach a goal in more ways than just using their bodies? Who better than from someone they clearly listen to enough to send tapes of themselves?

    Philanthropy is probably something more wealthy/ able people in our community could stand to take part in. You don’t really get to decide how someone gives private money. We also don’t get to appropriate the struggles or volition of “working class” women to push-up our own ideal of equality and justice.

    1. He set up a contest premised on girls shaking it for money. This came
      On the heels of his songs ‘bands’ll make her dance’ and ‘scholarship.’

      It is he who connected these items together. That girls could twerk and get a scholarship to help with school. And it is he who chose to use a technicality to reframe the conversation.

      You’ll note that I did not
      disagree with his choice of scholarship recipient. I disagreed with the callous way that he admonished girls for ‘thinking they was gone shake they ass’ for pay. It was admonishment pure and simple and he has no right to be admonishing anybody for twerking.

      So no, I have not shamed these women. I don’t think twerking is shameful. He shamed them by insinuating that they weren’t too smart to think they could get 50,000 for twerking when he made it seem as though that is exactly what he intended to do. Piss poor move on his part.

      He is the problem. Not my analysis.

      1. Either way this was doomed from the onset…If he picked someone who did some epic twerking, it would’ve been another issue as well. What would we have preferred? What is the solution? We can’t just pick him shaming and then say that this was wrong. If he’s wrong he’s wrong for the entire concept because it’s straight objectification. You can’t be ok with this and not be ok with Hip-Hop videos.

        “I mean look, perhaps it was wrong of us not to recognize the master mind behind “Bands A Make Her Dance,” was incapable of noble intentions toward sisters hustling trying to make it.”

        It was wrong to not recognize this. Who’s really expecting more from Juicy J.??

        While it doesn’t make it ok or even better, but he clearly was not targeting black women. I don’t even know where that came from.

      2. You didn’t shame these women? Really? In this article you called the project “ratchet and problematic from onset.” If you do not believe that twerking or dancing for money shameful is shameful, then what made the project ratchet/problematic from onset?

        Juicy J didn’t shame anyone for twerking. He simply acknowledged that one could/should, in fact, do more than twerk to be a recipient of a 50K academic scholarship. However, he did also unknowingly illustrate how many of our young girls are willing to shake their ass and show their bodies for money — which has a direct correlation to the porn/stripper culture (which was once a sub culture) that has penetrated the mainstream due to contemporary music fads.

        Must acknowledging that our girls should not be so willing to put their bodies on display for a small change at winning a scholarship be synonymous with “slut-shaming?”

        Honestly, I am irate at the language around slut-shaming that has recently become dominate. We are navigating a culture where our girls are being kidnapped and forced into sex-trafficking, literally lured by famous pop-stars who wait for them in their middle school parking lot (haven’t seen anything on this site about that), or are often displayed in media as human beings who are ONLY valuable due to their voluptuousness. Therefore, using baseless rhetoric that suggests that “slut/hoe culture” “sluts/hoes” and the men/women who “pimp” them shouldn’t be questioned is dangerous and ridiculous.

        Ultimately, several women and feminists slammed Juicy J for establishing this scholarship so he needed to change the stipulations. As a result, a deserving candidate won for illuminating her intellect rather than highlighting her sexy.

        It’s really simple to slam Juicy J for making a change that was demanded by women who were appalled by this project — no need create a problem where one doesn’t exist.

      3. You clearly don’t understand how we get down at this site. First of all, what was problematic was Juicy J asking women to shake their asses for money and then him insinuating that they were stupid to do so later. I would never slut shame strippers, dancers or sex workers, because folks have to make a way however they can, but we have to have a conversation about the men who exploit these services for personal and capital gain and we can do that and still fully respect the bodies and agency of these women.

        2nd, your argument has several contradictions. Are you irate with me for shaming women or are you defending your right to engage in slut-shaming of your own vis-a-vis respectability politics and arguments about “our girls.”? Please clear it up for me. And please know that if it is the former, then you misunderstood me (see pt. 1) and if it’s the latter, that’s not what we’re about at CFC.

        3rd, “ratchet” is not a pejorative term in this community. I’ve written extensively about ratchetness. See links below. So before you make assumptions, follow Juicy J’s instructions and get your read on. Peace.

    2. Juicy J originally wanted it to be a twerking scholarship and later decided you didn’t have to twerk once there was a backlash. Perhaps a little Wikipedia/YouTube/Twitter study at least would help you contextualize this event and Dr. Cooper’s well-thought out reading of it

      1. Exactly! I was interested in this scholarship and did not apply because I thought it was a twerk requirement. He changed the rules. And yes I read the fine print

  3. you guys missed the point. he’s not shaming anyone for twerking, he’s shaming them for not reading or using critical thinking skills. this has nothing to do with twerking, so why bring that up.

    1. Did you read his comment and get that he was referring to the twerking not just the reading:
      She wrote: Juicy J chimes right in, “See that’s what you get for shaking your ass and thinking you were gone get some money. It’s not always about shaking your ass.”

  4. he shamed them directly in his comments for thinking they could twerk to win the money. the slight of hand he pulled for burying waaaaaaay in the instructions that people just needed to submit a video (not necessarily a video of twerking was a mind fuck — a plot twist, on purpose. he called it a twerk scholarship, for god’s sake — what were folks supposed to think the video was supposed to be of?!? then he made the ladies upload their videos publicly — allowing them to be ogled and viewed by thousands in the name of trying to finance their educations. THEN he pulls the rug out. NOT cool. not okay.

  5. The music industry is a source of entertainment; it is not real life. I don’t agree with the type of music that Juicy J produces because it is very degrading to women but at the same time you guys can’t be mad at how he decides to donate his money. These women willing decided to make fools of themselves by dancing in front of a camera. I do believe that Juicy J is a walking contradiction but don’t feel any type of way for the women who participated. In my opinion, I wouldn’t want 50k of my money going to someone who couldn’t take the time to fully read the rules to my scholarship. The problem isn’t the scholarship, the issue is one of self respect

    1. If you’re willing to dangle large sums of cash in front of struggling young women to get them to do something that you deem is inconsistent with their self-respect, then the problem isn’t with the young women.

  6. Kamari Carter, a twerk scholar, on MHP Show

    I’m happy for sistahs to get money for education and wish there were more access for sistahs to earn scholarships for $50K, but I must say I was routing for Kamari Carter after hearing about her on MHP. #teachablemoments

    1. Her name is Kimari aka Miss Kimari on YouTube. I too thought she deserved it but she broke one of the rules with the ganja scene. But it was brilliant and was worthy of winning. But it’s his money to give. She did appear in the semi-finalists video for a sec.

  7. He made a song called “Bands Will Make Her Dance”. Seriously, why are people expecting MLK moments out of this guy? He is a well known misogyynist, but he didn’t make anyone do anything, they chose to exploit themselves. There are other ways to finance your education.

    Had any of the young ladies stopped to review the rules, they would have known better. And I’m sorry…I think uploading a video of yourself shaking your behind to a stranger on the internet in the hope of winning a contest (which you didn’t read the rules for) is stupid. It just is. Plain and simple. Feminism is way too contradicting for me. You want to tweet for money and be proud, than knock yourself out. Don’t whine about it afterwards because you lost.

    I do believe he is contradicting himself by saying women shouldn’t get paid for shaking their butts when he has clearly demonstrated being full willing to throw his money around for that very purpose. We live in a society where such behavior is valued.

  8. These broads just mad they aint read the rules… get the fuck out of here… so basically, ur mad because he gave it to the girl who was observant and dedicated enough to actually look at what the contest was about. She won cause she was smart and used her head, she didnt just pigeonhole him as an ignorant coon, see the word “twerk” and literally make an ass out herself. These girls woulda been uploading Twerk vids for less on youtube/vine/iIG/ anyway. Big deal…

    Ya’ll women always trying to justif ya’ll bullshit. He’s not degrading you. Your degrading yourself dumb dumb.

    1. @HaHa

      How is twerking making an a** out of yourself? And so what if the women twerked—-he called it a TWERK scholarship, so what the hell were they supposed to think it was going to be about? Twerking is just a dance. Seriously, just STFU and GTFOOH.

  9. I actually think he is quite clever and awarded the applicant to a woman who wasn’t willing to demean herself for money. I hope the young lady goes far.

    1. @Ed

      What the hell degrading and demeaning about twerking? It’s just a damn dance! If he had been upfront what they really were supposed to do to get the scholarship,everyone who applied would have done something besides twerking to get it. I also don’t like the “slut-shaming” attitude coming from you around these young ladies twerking—you’re not a stripper just because you twerk—basically,this J dude just used this as an opportunity for him and his boys to sit around jerking off to twerking videos,the bastard.Screw him and his BS. These rappers always think the world is one big strip club where women’s bodies are always supposed to be ready and accessible to them.

      1. “These rappers always think the world is one big strip club where women’s bodies are always supposed to be ready and accessible to them.
        YES. Thank you.

  10. While Juicy J has long exploited women and commodified twerking, nowhere in the official rules (those which always accompany scholarship contests) did it frame this as a “twerking contest.”. He never shamed twerking. He merely made the point that his $50K needed to be given for much more, as he also said in his semi-finalist video Also, I really didn’t see an issue with him shifting the contest months ago, as public pressure forced him to do so. He didn’t shame twerking. We did.

  11. He didn’t say nor did he imply that they were stupid. He (and Zaire) said that some people didn’t read the rules. He said that their actions were not necessary and that it’s not always about shaking one’s ass. And he’s right. It’s not always about shaking one’s ass. But sometimes shaking one’s ass does result in financial gain. In this case it didn’t . Of all the asinine things Juicy J actually does say and imply, you blast him for this? Because of the way that YOU interpreted his comment? I think that your interpretation is more about you (and what you are projecting onto him) than about what he actually said. When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. No shade. Just making an observation. Also, I am troubled by the elitism expressed in your article and in some of the comments. Saying that these women(and Black women) “got played” because of the money/power dynamic diminishes their agency and suggests that they had done something wrong by twerking – that they would not have twerked if they had known they didn’t have to which suggests that twerking is demeaning to them in some way (i.e. the notion that these women are so desperate for cash that we can’t fault them for making the decision to twerk is based on the assumption that twerking is not good). That is also a form of respectability politics and that came from you.

    1. Let’s do a close reading: he said “that’s what you get for shaking your ass and thinking you were gone get some money” “That’s what you get?”=shaming and insinuating that they are stupid and got played.

      This post fully acknowledged and celebrated women’s agency by speaking of all the creative ways they responded to this video call, twerking included.

      Juicy J deserves to be called out for his act of bait-and-switch. When he tweeted about this initially he did connect the money to twerking and when world star hip hop helped promote it they also connected it to twerking. It wasn’t just called the Juicy J Scholarship Contest.

      As for my views on twerking or alleged belief in respectability politics:

      Reading is fundamental. Peace.

      1. I find it interesting that you termed the change in rules a “bait-and-switch”, as opposed to giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming (as you already are anyway) that he may have, in fact, listened to the women who initially called him out and changed the rules for the better.

      2. I suppose it’s all a matter of interpretation. I didn’t interpret his words as a comment on anyone’s intelligence. I interpreted his comment as an admonishment to those that would feel “played” or “duped.” You and Juicy J are making assumptions about the decisions of the contestants based on . . . I don’t know what. You asserted that Black women got played in this instance. You keep saying that he insinuated that they were stupid. You keep saying that he has shamed them but those that participated were clearly comfortable with shaking their ass on camera and then uploading it. I think it is more likely that he is shaming them for not reading the rules (assuming that they didn’t) and doing something that they didn’t want to do to get money. You are tacitly agreeing with his assumption that they didn’t read the rules and then compromised themselves as a result. That assumption 1) diminishes their agency and 2)seems to make some judgments about respectability. Also, if you feel like Juicy J pulled a bait and switch on these women and you need to call him out, that’s fine. However, I would hope that you would critique any young woman that felt played and use this as a teachable moment on how to protect themselves (in this case by reading and understanding the instructions before putting themselves out there.) rather focusing on Juicy J. BTW – his feelings about sex workers are not thinly veiled. I think his views are fairly obvious. But, again, it’s all a matter of interpretation.
        I read your piece on twerking when it was first published so I am well aware of the fundamental nature of reading. I do it all the time. On this site, no less. I find listening, interpreting (while accounting for my own biases) and critical thinking to be valuable as well. Those skills came in quite handy when reading your piece and watching the video. I happened to reach a different conclusion than you did. That happens a lot when thinking people engage in dialogue. It just makes for good conversation.
        To be clear, I don’t have a problem with these young women twerking (or not) to their hearts content and that seems to make any animosity toward him moot.

      3. Glad you read the initial twerking piece. I think that piece clearly puts to rest any arguments about my investment in respectability politics.

        As for who’s diminishing whose agency, we’ll just have to disagree.


  12. I love this article! when I watched the video and heard him say “you do not deserve it” I was like…um are you kidding me?? Who the F is Juicy J to tell anyone what they deserve?! I would love to see some of the women who participated in the contest and actually twerked talk on how they feel about how this all went down.

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