M.I.A music video withheld due fears of cultural appropriation.
M.I.A has always been controversial not only with her music but with her music videos too. Remember the video for ‘Born Free‘? It is perhaps more aptly described as a short film, clocking in at around nine minutes long, and depicts an apparent genocide of red-haired people. Filming for this commenced without prior knowledge of her label, XL Recordings. Shortly after being unveiled it was banned from YouTube in both the US and UK.
At the time, she spoke French music magazine Mondomix, saying: “It’s amazing to me that is the state we’re in today – people are more moved by something synthetic than something real.”
Once again her artistry has met with censorship in the form of a music video being blocked from release for fears of potential accusations of cultural appropriation.
She tweeted, “I’ve been told I can’t put out a video because it’s shot in Africa,” and later revealed the video is a “1 take shot of a dancer ! The best in the wide world!” M.I.A claimed it took her two years to locate the dancer to Côte d’Ivoire, where filming took place.
Will we ever see this video?
It’s not the first time cultural appropriation has been an issue with M.I.A; the 2012 video for ‘Bad Girls’ (still image above) was scrutinised for featuring Arab women dressed in leopard-print wielding AK-47s. One blogger from Muslimah Media Watch said: “Arab Muslim women aren’t video decor.” Watch it above.
Credit: Video sourced from Noisey Youtube page.