Twerking for Scholarships: The Foolery Continues

Apparently bands will in fact make her dance.

During a recent search through relative internet obscurity, I stumbled upon an article in Business Insider that reported rapper Juicy J was giving away a $50,000 college scholarship to one lucky girl (sorry fellas).

I thought to myself look at Juicy J actually making a difference and supporting education!

And then I continued reading.

Educational Twerking

No fancy essays or personal statements were required. Just a simple YouTube video of why you deserve to win along with your best…twerk. What even classifies a good twerk?! (Don’t answer that.)

But more importantly, why is this at all associated with education? Who told Juicy J that just because he made a song called “Scholarship” he’s now qualified to hand out financial aid?

In theory, giving away a college scholarship is wonderful. But making a girl twerk for it is seriously degrading, ridiculous and misogynistic. The fact that any girl would even consider twerking for college funds is beyond me.

There are plenty of other ways to get free money for your education. It starts with the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA), not dipping it low.

Twerking for scholarships is equivalent to “needing” to strip to make ends meet. This “scholarship” is nothing more than Girls Gone Wild – Ratchet Edition and an excuse for Juicy J to continue to exploit women. And by participating in this foolery “for the sake of education,” we’re continuing to let him do so.

Ladies, you’re better than this.

Degree vs. Dignity–The College Struggle is Real

Education is important, but is the college struggle so real that we have to pop, lock and drop our way to a degree? Have we not learned from Miley Cyrus? Gimmicks will only get you so far.

There are other ways to fund your education, such as the above mentioned FAFSA or actually getting a part-time job like most people do. Additionally, there are countless websites like Fastweb.com and Scholarships.com that provide lists of hundreds of organizations and company who do not require you to shake your assets for cash.

I don’t care how many “bandz” Juicy J is throwing to “make her dance,” he will get no twerks from me EVER. IN. LIFE.

What price do we put on our self-worth or dignity? Are we even saying we value our education by shaking it for a quick dollar, or 50,000 even?

The truth is any dignity you seek to gain by getting a degree will have already been compromised in that 1-minute video you recorded and posted on YouTube.

College isn’t easy to navigate, especially when it comes to finances. And most of us are broke or 100% dependent on our parents. The struggle is real.

But that’s also the triumphant part. I remember that glorious moment–walking across the stage at San Diego State and hearing my name called. That moment signified that my hard work had paid off and that my struggle was worth it.

I didn’t need to put my goods on display for the “sake of bettering my future.”

And ladies, you don’t either.

UPDATE: Juicy J has awarded a young, single mother the $50,000 scholarship. And she didn’t have to twerk for it. That contestants didn’t have to twerk to win was made plain in the rules, but it’s been clear that it was an implicit expectation for the contest.

Here’s the winner’s submission:

  • Tyshan Broden

    To be honest when I read the title I was shocked and disgusted. I mean that is ridiculously ratchet and degrading. Then I saw $50,000, which is the amount I owed in student loans when I graduated college and the thought crossed my mind. Yes, I actually considered selling myself to get out of debt. When I went to college I applied for over 65 scholarships, I had my teachers read and critique my essays, I was on the grind. My mom made too much so I didnt qualify for financial aid through fasfa and I had to put myself through school. At the end of all that hard work I was awarded 2 scholarships. One from my church and another local one from my suburb. Throughout college it got progressively harder to get scholarships. Yes I did have a part time job, Praise God. Yes, its hard to pay for your education. Yes I know my self-worth shouldnt be put on the line so I can get through college, but man $50000 in debt and years of paying back high interest private loans as opposed to a 1 minute video and no debt at all does sound tempting.

  • dd.

    Part of me wants to be honest and say that hyper-sexualized dances have been associated with African cultures for dozens of centuries and that the sociological climate is the determining force behind what is right and wrong. So, in an amoral world, this is not wrong, per se. But, that’s the secular humanist in me. In a world governed and loved by God, yes, this is quite terrible. If there is no God, they/we/I have no dignity, they/we/I are only atoms joined together at the hip with a larger grouping of atoms that form a chemically imbalanced organ that guides those other atoms. The reason this upsets me is two fold, One: I oddly enjoy doses of ratchetry, in my carnality, and Two: Jesus loves Juicy J and those women and desires them to stop settling for lesser joys.

    “You say no to ratchet … well, Juicy. J. can’t” – Juicy J.

    • Dan Duncan

      Man I love this response! Thankful for your thoughts!

    • Tenika Small

      Dave, you have a very balanced point of view. I agree that hyper-sexualized dances have been associated with the culture. But I am making the distinction of using such in the name of education. But maybe you’re saying there really is no distinction. Why can’t it be just a twerking contest? Why the need to pull in educated women who are torn between their dignity and a dollar? I feel like ratchetry and education don’t go together. LOL But Christianity aside, I feel like women should have more respect for themselves in general. Perhaps that is the feminist in me or now at 28, I understand I am worth more.

      • dd.

        I understand, perhaps I don’t see the great distinction. This may sound sexist (if I started a sentence like this my momma would tell me not to say it!), but, to me, the difference between an educated woman and a non-educated woman is the amount of time she has to participate in ratchetry (a slight joke). Women who are not in school typically work harder under the watchful eye of their parent(s) and go hard on the weekends. Women in school have a lot more free time and untamed sexually charged boys with wit preying on them. University campuses are cesspools of lust and sexual looseness, trust me, I know. Juicy is trying to promote the arts and scholarship, in his eyes. His moral compass is telling him that this is an act of righteousness. Doing a grossly gross generalization, in higher educational facilities these women are the same as women outside of the gates. I would hope that we would all know better, but we don’t. We both know that women are worth more, so much more. So, I thank women like you for using your platform to encourage and educate.

        “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”

        *hides behind a rock hoping that the feminist in you doesn’t throw a boulder at the male chauvinist in me

  • Leonard


    Here is the follow up article for the “competition” for twerking for a scholarship.

    Was this foolish? YES.
    Did Juicy J maybe deceive these women by calling it a twerking scholarship? Absolutely YES.
    Could Juicy of found another way to promote this scholarship to make it legit? YES.
    Are these women fools for wanting to follow culture and degrade themselves for some cash to make them a glorified stripper/hooker/call girl/escort? YES.
    Am I supporting calling this scholarship a Twerking Scholarship and deceiving women? NO

    So I want to say that there is some fact to what he did and that has to be looked at in this situation. The winner actually read the rules and it stated that you didn’t have to twerk to win. She paid attention, didn’t make a fool of herself and came out on top. Sorry to say it but this article was based off an assumption that he was only looking for women to twerk and the rules were not read by the author. Im not saying that Juicy probably didn’t enjoy the videos and if he makes a remix that those videos wouldn’t end up in some production he makes but that is their own fault. Im not mad at the guy for wanting to give a scholarship to help someone out and probably help himself with a tax write-off because thats his right but was it done in a wrong way? Absolutely. He obviously knew what he was doing and wanted to give the 50k to someone who was smart, was not going to “sell their bodies for cash” and the money would go to good use.

    Some people always say that Men don’t ever read the directions, well it looks like some of these women didn’t and it came back and bit them in the a$$. (pun intended)

    • Dan Duncan

      Love this bro! Glad you did the follow up work and even more glad the girl that won did not “twerk” to win!

    • Tenika Small

      Hi Leonard – Thanks for your response. I always want to make sure I am giving accurate information, so appreciate it! Before Juicy J announced the winner, he did state on Aug 22 on twitter that he was “giving a 50K scholarship to the best chick that can twerk.” Regardless of if the rules directly stated the word “twerking” or not, it’s nearly implied by his initial tweet. He never came back and said you didn’t need to twerk until Jan 13, after this article was written and after Zaire had won. I do think in the end that’s great the winner didn’t have to twerk, but I still feel like it’s a shame he even started the contest off in such a manner. Also, by partnering with Worldstar Hip Hop that has Twerk of the Week videos, the entire thing was misleading. But I take the responsibility for reading between the lines.