Rapper M.I.A. Blocked from Releasing Music Video Because of ‘Cultural Appropriation’


M.I.A. says she cannot release her latest music video “because it’s shot in Africa.”

The “Paper Planes” rapper took to Twitter on Monday to tell followers she was blocked from releasing the video because of cultural appropriation, and asked her fans to “discuss” the situation with her.


According to the artist, the video features a “1 take shot” of an African dancer: “The best in the wide world!”


This is not the first time the artist’s work has been accused of cultural appropriation; in 2012, the music video for her song “Bad Girls” was blasted for perpetuating stereotypes about Arabs.

M.I.A. engaged her fans in a discussion of the situation, retweeting replies sympathetic to her plight.

“[Y]our entire aesthetic definitely borrows aspects from other cultures but it does so in an exploratory and non-exploitative way,” tweeted a fan named Sonia.

“Well that’s dumb!” added Teesha. “You should be allowed to share cultures just as you always have! Why is it such an issue now?”

The artist followed up by saying that if an African artist were to hit it big this year, she would “gladly give him this video for free.”


M.I.A. is hardly the only celebrity to be criticized for borrowing from other cultures for creative projects. Pop star Ellie Goulding and supermodel Heidi Klum were both targeted for wearing traditional Native American dress in their work, while Iggy Azalea has been regularly slammed for getting to “profit off of her white appeal while simultaneously selling a black sound.”

Last month, 16-year-old Hunger Games star Amanda Stenberg made a video for her history class called “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” in which she takes artists like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry to task for borrowing aspects of certain cultures without discussing the effects the borrowed material might have on the larger community.

Check out the video for M.I.A.’s 2012 hit “Bad Girls” below:


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