Should Cher be apologizing for a 44-year-old hit that remains a staple of her concert performances because some people find its title offensive?
That’s a question that’s suddenly been thrust to the forefront for the 71-year-old music icon, thanks to President Donald Trump’s controversial pick as Native American Ambassador on the National Diversity Coalition and a conversation that’s been playing out over Twitter.
Earlier this month, aboriginal organizations were shocked when singer Kaya Jones (who claims to be “a founding member of The Pussycat Dolls”) was appointed ambassador, with the blonde-haired, light-skinned singer seen as a odd choice to represent Native Americans due to her unproven claims of being “half-Apache“.
Numerous Twitter users have balked at her claims, referring to Jones as a “pretendian,” while some have pointed out that Pussycat Dolls founder denies Jones’ claims she was a member, telling ET that “Kaya Jones was never a member of the Pussycat Dolls, but simply a Pussycat reject who’s looking for her 15 minutes of fame.”
So where does Cher fit into this? In one of Jones’ many social media missives (she tweets a lot), the Toronto-born singer (she holds dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship) referred to herself as a #HalfBreed, a term that is considered offensive in the Native American community, linking to a video of Cher performing the song wearing a glitzy headdress.
This led Jones to be attacked for her use of the phrase, causing her to respond with further tweets.
Somehow, this resulted in discussion of Cher’s heritage (she’s predominantly Armenian, but has claimed to be 1/16th Cherokee), with some Twitter users alleging that people of Armenian descent used to falsely claim Native American ancestry, theorizing Cher’s mother may have done the same. This led Cher to enter the fray, with a fury.
Lashing out at the Twitter user who made the comment by calling her a “b*tch” fuelled the controversy even more as Cher continued to discuss the offensiveness of the 44-year-old song in a series of tweets.
Cher continued to find herself attacked further by those who feel she should stop performing the song at her concerts, which typically sees her wearing a Vegas-style headdress and Native American-inspired costume.
In fact, Cher admitted that she found herself torn between not wanting to bring people pain through the song and not wanting to disappoint her fans, who expect her to perform the song, and found herself responding to all manner of criticism over “Half Breed”.