The Essential Legacy of M.I.A.
The Essential Legacy of M.I.A.

Her Brownness was palatable to the industry and their persistent search for a fresh eclectic star — but her politics were not.

M.I.A., born Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, is a rapper, singer, filmmaker, and visual artist — not afraid to stir the hornet’s nest. (Coup d'Oreille/Flickr)

M.I.A., born Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, is a rapper, singer, filmmaker, and visual artist — not afraid to stir the hornet’s nest. (Coup d'Oreille/Flickr)

As the world was beginning to grapple with the seriousness of COVID-19 in March — rapper M.I.A. took to Twitter to issue a strong diktat against vaccinations. “If I have to choose the vaccine or chip [sic],” she declared, “I’m gonna choose death.”

To come out as an anti-vaxxer is a questionable choice at any moment, but is particularly misguided at a time when the healthcare system is under duress. M.I.A. later elaborated, “I’m not against vaccines. I’m against companies who care more for profit then [sic] humans. I care for better track record that proves this. I care that African countries are not always the testing ground. I don’t want it coming from banks / tech / hedge fund sector and I want a choice.”

Backlash against the musician began pouring in almost immediately. She was

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