When asked about Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime show, which drew criticism from police and conservatives for its use of Black Panther imagery, M.I.A. responded, "It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. It's not a new thing to me — it’s what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s. Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That’s a more interesting question."
She continued: "You can't ask it on a song that’s on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV program, you cannot create that tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama is not going to hump you back."
She clarified her position in a pair of tweets Thursday morning, explaining that she was not criticizing Beyonce but rather using her as an example to demonstrate people's unwillingness/inability to stand up for certain issues. While Beyonce, Kendrick, & other artists have addressed the current racial climate in the United States, few American artists have used their platform to speak on international issues; M.I.A. recently addressed the European refugee crisis in her "Borders" video.
A#blacklivesmatter B#Muslimlivesmatter. I'm not Muslim . My criticism wasn't about Beyoncé. It's how u can say A not B right now in 2016.— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) April 21, 2016
My question was,on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016. This has been the number 1 question for me.— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) April 21, 2016