Azealia Banks is at again with her public call outs. This time she has some words for music artist M.I.A, calling her “anti-Black.”
It all started when M.I.A vented on Instagram about her relationship with former producer and ex-boyfriend Diplo. She denied that Diplo (real name Thomas Wesley Pentz) is the reason for her success. “It’s important you don’t see me as a lil thing diplo discovered because I’m a brown woman,” she wrote. “and this is the first story of a brown female musician who smashed it for the first time. That didn’t happen because I accidentally walked passed diplo.”
When talking about her success M.I.A, who is of Sri Lankan Tamil descent, also said, “There was no label no A N R no channels. a handful of people believed in me , then when I got a deal , they turned on me. This was why i forged my own path and style and genre. I didn’t want anyone to say they made me!”
I just want to clear this up Here's a lil story of how this happened. I discovered diplo because Steve Mackey played me a song by him released on big dada! I found out on a "flyer" he was djing and spent 16 pounds and bought my own way into fabric club in London . No one put me on the list! Nobody paid for it! I approached him and gave him my record! There was no label no A N R no channels. a handful of people believed in me , then when I got a deal , they turned on me. This was why i forged my own path and style and genre. I didn't want anyone to say they made me! To this day so many people have made careers off me and the same people distort history destroy the story because of my politics , which he played a part in cementing. He said "politics is a terrible thing for music"in 2010 in the NYT article . During this time when 400 000 Tamil were getting bombed to death , he used to have a dart board of my face on his rider . Jus sayin . "He text me "you're walking backwards into a brick wall" when the NYT article came out. While I was defending privacy laws with a newborn baby like it's me against the world. No one came to my shows during this time because of that article and racist memes mad decent were spreading through hipsters. I let him cash in on the sound because I had no choice. I felt it was important to defend freedom of speech, even for American people and couldn't play the game. Everyone involved in major lazer now came together through me. I made boyz in Jamaica and Trinidad. I took switch there carried beers up the mountain everyday . Wes wasn't there because he was cheating on me in Brazil at the time. he turned up a year later and networked in JA saying he produced BOYZ coz the song blew in Jamaica. Walshy was the directors roommate and Chris was my day to day in Trinidad. it's important you don't see me as a Iil thing diplo discovered because I'm a brown woman , and this is the first story of a brown female musician who smashed it for the first time . That didn't happen because I accidentally walked passed diplo. Ta! This is literally 1% of the story!
Azealia peeped M.I.A’s words and challenged the idea that she was completely original. See the rant below:
Other folks seemed to agree with Azealia. When a Twitter user called out M.I.A for relying on “Black sounds like everyone else,” M.I.A responded with, “I came right after the 90s early 2000s success of Indian riddim in dancehall/hip hop! Missy timberland /big pimpin coolie riddim sounds ta.”
M.I.A also got criticism for tweeting the “concept of carnival itself is frm ancient Hindu tradition who gods r celebrate paraded to sounds of drums/music around the town on floats.” She later corrected this tweet saying, “The concept of ‘carnival’ ALSO comes from ancient Indian culture that has sounds of drums and instruments.”
She added, “cultures all have similarities.. so one can’t dominate the narrative of others.”
This appears to be another messy conversation on cultural appropriation. Despite critical and commercial success, M.I.A does have a nuanced history when it comes to Black politics. We’ll keep you updated if the spat between Azealia and M.I.A continues.