Miley Cyrus said Monday that her decision to have a 22-year-old homeless man accept her MTV Video Music Award Sunday came from a desire to use her notoriety for social good.
Recognizing the uproar created by her raunchy performance at last year's VMAs, the singer, 21, told Ryan Seacrest on his syndicated radio program, "I just didn't realize my platform, I didn't realize my power" adding, "No matter what I say or do . . . there's going to be talk, so what do I want them to talk about? You know? That's what I really had to prioritize. If I'm going to be given this loud of a voice . . . and this huge of an opportunity to talk to young people in America right now, what am I really trying to say? Because I don't think what I was trying to say was what happened the year before, really."
She said that during a visit the past week to the Los Angeles organization My Friend's Place, which offers resources to the city's homeless youth, "I felt more full than [through] any award, you know, or anything I've ever felt."
Seeing "people that are just like me living on the streets of L.A.," Cyrus recruited Jesse, a homeless former Oregonian who declined to make his last name public, to accept her Video of the Year award and put a face on the city's estimated 54,000 homeless people. (He is keeping the award, she told Seacrest.) She also opened a campaign on Facebook to solicit $5 donations for My Friend's Place, entering contributors into a raffle to win a trip for two to her Sept. 28 concert in Rio de Janeiro.