NPR Staff |
NPRFriday, September 9, 2016
Courtesy of the artist
M.I.A. grew up in war-torn Sri Lanka, and later in public housing in London. She's made a career singing and speaking about the social justice issues around refugees and minorities. So it surprised some people when, in an interview this April, she seemed to criticize the Black Lives Matter movement and two musicians: "Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim lives matter?" she said. "Or Syrian lives matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters?"
NPR's David Greene asked her about those comments. She says her point is that a few megastars get so much of the world's attention, she fears some causes get overlooked.
"When you have 20 icons, and all 20 icons are American — apart from, say, Adele and Coldplay, who are British — then the pressure kind of goes on someone like me," she says. "I was saying, well, if we've got 10 artists to listen to for the next 10 years, either make those artists varied or open up the floodgates for these artists to talk about other issues and don't just make it particular to their own experience, because it's shutting down a lot of current affairs affecting the rest of the world. ... If we're waiting for a Syrian kid to come up and talk about Syria, we might be waiting for a long time, because those kids are not gonna get that opportunity."
On the new album AIM, out today, M.I.A. says her take on racial strife is more global than before — perhaps even a throwback to the "peace and unity" vibe of the 1990s. Hear more of her conversation with David Greene, including what she's tried to teach her young son about privilege, at the audio link.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.
Delivered to your inbox every Friday.
Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.
Thank you for signing up for the ReCap newsletter! We'll send you an email each Friday with the top stories from CapRadio.
10 new California laws that go into effect in 2023
California coronavirus updates: Judge blocks California law preventing doctors from spreading COVID-19 misinformation
Behind The I-80 Castle: A Drag-Racing, Beauty School Mogul’s Dream House
Still testing positive after day 10? How to decide when to end your COVID isolation
Tyre Nichols loved skateboarding. That's how his friends say they'll remember him