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MIA's battle with NFL over Super Bowl finger gets uglier

MIA and the NFL are two acronyms that really don’t seem to fit together.

Two years after the singer showed her middle finger during Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, the NFL is demanding over $16 million in restitution and damages. Today, M.I.A. tweeted an image of an email document that the NFL has also asked her to sign.

As MIA’s lawyer pointed out, the half time show has featured many more risqué performances in the past, most notably Prince’s giant “penis” guitar in 2007 and Michael Jackson who in 1993 “repeatedly grabbed or fondled his genitalia.”

Also not pilloried by the NFL? The young black girls who danced throughout Madonna’s performance. “Madonna got them from a local high school in Indianapolis,” the singer said in a recent interview, according to the NY Daily News.. “They were under 16. If you look at them they’re wearing cheerleader outfits, hips thrusting in the air, legs wide open … in a very sexually provocative position.”

“Now they’re scapegoating me into figuring out what is the goal post of what’s offensive in America …. Like, is my finger offensive? Or is an underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience? It’s a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money. It’s a massive display of powerful corporation d–k shaking.”

“They want me on my knees, to say sorry so they can slap me on my wrist, and basically say it’s okay for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female, but then to display female empowerment through being punk rock.”

M.I.A.'s 'Matangi': A great album, not to be taken too seriously

mia-matangi.jpg

Why some people take M.I.A. so seriously, I don’t know. Haters, stans, people who use the word “appropriative”—I’d hope they would all share a laugh when Maya flips off the worldwide audience of the 2012 Super Bowl, invites Julian Assange to Skype from the stage of a concert, or—as she does on her fourth album, Matangi—answers the long kaput YOLO business with “Y.A.L.A.,” or “You Always Live Again,” a song that ends with her explaining, “[and] that’s why they invented karma.”

I’m as entertained, in other words, by Maya’s chaotic and sometimes kooky nonconformity as by her free-trade beats, far-out hooks, and supremely self-aware exploitation of (to Westerners) “exotica.”

And I don’t doubt that the she’s got a sense of humor about it all, either. Unless I’m misreading lines like, “If you’re gonna be me you need a manifesto/If you ain’t got one you better get one presto,” from the new album’s thrumming title track.

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