We knew from the moment London-born rapper, M.I.A. put her middle finger up to an audience of 111.3 million viewers at the 46th NFL Super Bowl that she was a certified bad girl. Now the 37-year-old has taken her no-holds-barred persona to the cover of PAPER magazine’s November issue.
Wearing Acne and Crème de Silkt tops, a headpiece by Tom Manaton, custom made pants by M.I.A. and shoes by Kenzo, her colorful style just oozes from the spread. With backdrop images from her new book “M.I.A” there’s no hiding from her eclectic style.
Some highlights from the interview include:
Thoughts on her art book: “Even though kids embraced [my art], and people started making crappy fashion GIFs on the computer and disgusting websites and wearing weird leggings, there never was a place where people could go to be like, “This is where it came from.”
On the “middle finger at the Super Bowl” incident and causing controversy: “I feel like people being reactionary to what I do is really on them, not on me…The media freaking out is always going to happen. It’s cultural, you know. If I stick a middle finger up in England, it’s not shocking there. It’s shocking here.”
On discovering the goddess whose name she shares (which is also her forthcoming album’s title): ”When I went to India, I was looking on Google for stuff that was the color of a certain green, and that’s when this green goddess, Matangi, popped up. I was like, that’s weird, the whole time I’ve been alive on this planet, my mom never mentioned where my name came from. Matangi was the goddess of knowledge and the arts — music, art, dancing, spoken word. When they invented this mythology 4,000 years ago, the concept of someone being all those things was normal…her ‘Mudra,’ which is basically all of these yoga movements on your hands, is the middle finger — to top it all off.”
On getting criticized for ‘doing too many things’: “I feel like people put me down because I did too many things. Like, ‘You put so much effort in so many directions that there’s not enough yield. You don’t focus on money. But you put all these things together and you don’t make it work for you. You don’t sell Isht. Why don’t you have your leggings line at American Apparel?’”
To see the full interview go here or pick up the new issue on stands!