By Laura Ferreiro
M.I.A., who's known for her provocative videos and song lyrics, stirred things up during her 2012 Super Bowl halftime performance when she flashed her middle finger at the camera. Now the Sri Lankan-British singer has spoken out about the $1.5 million lawsuit the NFL has filed against her for allegedly breaching her performance contract and damaging its reputation.
Not one to keep quiet, M.I.A. has issued her own video statement in retaliation against the NFL. Not only does she say that the "NFL thing is completely ridiculous," but she alleges that the young cheerleaders Madonna featured in her performance during the same halftime show were more offensive than her own "punk rock" maneuver.
"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," M.I.A. says in the video.
"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?"
M.I.A continues by saying that the whole thing is a massive waste of time and money. She also boldly says that 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."
Check out the video below:
M.I.A. posted a link to the video on her Twitter account, with the comment, "Rehersed [sic] sexual hip gesture vs finger gesture, whats more obscene?"
The "Paper Planes" singer's fans have been rallying behind her, saying "Preach the truth, Maya" and "M.I.A. is more punk rock than punk rockers."
What do you think? Was her bird-flashing a harmless gesture or extremely offensive to a family audience? Weigh in below.