Remember decades ago, when M.I.A. flipped the bird at the camera during the Super Bowl halftime show and the stadium experienced a simultaneous blackout so we were spared the sight of her nipple? Oh wait, I'm mixing up my catastrophes: It was February 2012 when M.I.A. waved her middle finger at America; it was last week when we learned that the NFL was suing the singer for $1.5 million and a public apology, claiming that she'd breached an agreement to uphold the league's "reputation for wholesomeness" (we don't have to say much more about that, aside from "LOL, K").
Anyway, M.I.A. responded yesterday, and it was magnificent (transcribed below, video after the jump):
The NFL thing is completely ridiculous. It’s been making me laugh for a while, but now it’s so boring I don’t even laugh anymore. So the precise moment in question, and you can actually freeze-frame this as many media outlets have. The frame you’re looking for has my middle finger in the foreground, and the larger picture where it zooms out is a row of 10-15 cheerleaders, young black females, that Madonna got from a local high school in Indianapolis, and they were all under 16. If you look at them, they’re all wearing cheerleader outfits, hips thrusted in the air, legs wide open, in this very sexually provocative position.
So, now, they’re scapegoating me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America. Like, is my finger offensive, or is the underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience? That’s basically what it comes down to. It's a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, it’s a massive display of powerful corporation dick-shaking. They want me on my knees and say sorry so they can slap me on my wrist. Basically, so they can say it’s OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female than to display female empowerment through being punk rock. That is what it boils down to, and I’m being sued for it.
I'm team M.I.A. on this one, but I'm also team middle finger, generally. Still, all the bonus points in the world for the phrase "powerful corporation dick-shaking." [Pitchfork]