Miley Cyrus recruited Joan Jett and Against Me! vocalist Laura Jane Grace to help her cover “Androgynous” by The Replacements in her latest “Backyard Sessions.” The video series is presented by the Happy Hippie Foundation, Cyrus’ nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise awareness and “fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations,” according to their Facebook page.
Cyrus brought the issue of homelessness to the forefront when she took homeless 22-year-old Jesse Helt as her date for the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in August after meeting him on her visit to My Friend’s Place, a youth center for the homeless of Los Angeles. Helt accepted Cyrus’ Video of the Year moonman for “Wrecking Ball” on behalf of the 1.6 million runaway and homeless.
The Happy Hippie Foundation lists several statistics about homelessness on their website, which includes that 40 percent of homeless youth identity as LGBT and being rejected by their own family is the most common reason homelessness is experienced. The site also draws attention to nearly one in three transgender individuals being turned away from shelters.
Laura Jane Grace is no stranger to the topic of transgender individuals given the Against Me! vocalist is formerly known as Tom Gabel. Grace publicly announced plans to transition in 2012 and is an advocate for the transgender community. Grace has also tackled the topic through music in the form of the 2014 Against Me! full-length, Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
Joan Jett has often been a target when it comes to her sexual orientation, but has yet to confirm or deny what she identifies as. The 2010 biopic, The Runaways, in which Kristen Stewart portrays Jett, stirred up the sexuality discussion once again. In a Q&A with Interview magazine following the film’s release, Jett said her orientation is not what is important, but rather it is all about the music. “I want people to focus on the music,” Jett says. “And if they want to know who I am, I write about who I am in the lyrics, so don’t be lazy—read the lyrics and figure it out for yourself.”
Earlier this week, Cyrus joined Jett for a track titled “Different” as the first official “Backyard Sessions” installment followed by Cyrus’ solo rendition of “No Freedom” by Dido. Cyrus dedicated the latter video to a transgender teen named Leelah Alcorn of Ohio who committed suicide and left a note pleading for society to be fixed and the transgender community to be accepted.
All of the “Backyard Session” videos have a purpose of raising awareness and driving donations to the Happy Hippie Foundation for the creation of digital support groups. More information on the groups and how donations help can be found here.
FDRMX Eyes: Tony Baboon is our favorite reggae musician these days. Check out his video, “Copacao.”