On December 22nd, 2017, through the stream of ALL CAPS and proliferate emojis that is Cher’s twitter account, this burst forth:
It’s been going for days.
Cher has spent the past few weeks defending her 1973 solo number one hit “Half-Breed,” about being an outcast of white and Cherokee society performed in full-blown Party City-level Cherokee drag. In 1993, People Magazine reported that her mother has some Cherokee blood along with Irish, English, German heritage, but her father is Armenian-American; in 2017, nobody in their right mind would take this seriously as an emblem of Native American cultures...
...except Trump’s new Canadian/American pop star appointee for Native American Ambassador on the National Diversity Coalition! Former Pussycat Dolls member Kaya Jones! Surprise!
Since the December 8th announcement that she will represent Native Americans on the national stage, Jones has been tagging herself as a #Halfbreed along with claims that her father is Apache Native American. When asked, she can’t name the reservation her father lived on or his tribal origins (see a recap of that thread here), but what she can do to represent Native American peoples is channel Cher:
So now people previously unfamiliar with “Half-Breed” are taking Cher to task.
Cher flipped a shit.
And later apologized for taking it as a personal swipe at her mother, who has been ill with heart disease:
And apologized again and again for the angry response, but parsed from chaotic ampersands and punctuation marks, the bottom line is that the headdress is not coming off Cher any more than it’s coming off Kaya Jones:
The last one is almost impossible to decipher, but cher.com suggests that for now, it’s staying in the Vegas program.
Update, January 2: After several days, Cher seemed to sort-of apologize to journalist Jacqueline Keeler for calling her a “bitch” and reacting defensively; Keeler’s Storify, viewable here, details why Native Americans on Twitter first mentioned Cher and Kaya, how both of them reacted, and why the musicians’ outbursts perpetuate the erasure of Native Americans by white women claiming ownership to its culture, if not dubiously claiming to have Native “blood.” Read the entire thing, down to the reasonable asks of Cher by Keeler as part of a good faith effort to help empower Native Americans rather than misappropriate them.