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M.I.A. Says She "Can’t Put Out A Video Because It’s Shot In Africa"

M.I.A. says she's being prevented from putting out her new Côte d'Ivoire dance video because of "cultural appropriation."


On Monday, M.I.A. took to Twitter to voice her thoughts on "cultural appropriation" and open the floor for discussion. "I wanna talk about cultural appropriation!," she wrote. "I've been told I can't put out a video because it's shot in Africa." The 39-year-old artist, born in London of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage, then asked, "What happens when I shoot videos in America or Germany it makes no sense to the 00.01% of artists like me."

According to M.I.A., the video in question is a one-take shot of a male dancer in Côte d'Ivoire, who she says she spent two years locating. "The video is 1 take shot of a dancer ! The best in the wide world! And he wasn't ever gonna make "_____got talent," she said.

"If the music industry allows an African artist to come through this year on intnl level, I would gladly give him this video for free," the singer added.

It's certainly tough to weigh in without having actually seen the video. We wonder if what's actually being discussed is the creative control and agency of the Ivorian artist whose work is being distributed.

Interview
Photo: Mariela Alvarez.

Interview: ÌFÉ Blends Music & Religion to Honor Those Who Have Died During the Pandemic

Producer and percussionist Otura Mun talks about his latest EP, The Living Dead, and how he traces the influences of West Africa in his new work.

There are bands that open up a spiritual world through their music. ÌFÉ is one example. An electro-futurist band that fuses Afro-Cuban rhythms and Jamaican dancehall with Yoruba mystical voices. With the success of their 2017 debut album "IIII+IIII" (pronounced Eji-Ogbe), ÌFÉ has reached an audience that is looking for Caribbean and contemporary sounds.

The Puerto Rican-based band just released a new EP, The Living Dead- Ashé Bogbo Egun, that aims to heal and honor those who have died during this pandemic. Otura Mun, the band leader, is an African-American producer and percussionist, who began a personal journey about a decade ago, when he landed in San Juan, and decided to move there. He learned Spanish, dug deep into his African ancestry and started to practice the Yoruba-Caribbean religion of Santería.

ÌFÉ, which means "love and expansion" in Yoruba, ties two worlds, music and religion, artistically. This new EP modernized prayer songs to hopefully make them more accessible to a younger generation. OkayAfrica spoke with Otura Mun on his latest work.

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