M.I.A's latest video pulled for cultural appropriation

After actors walked off Adam Sandler’s set last month, more and more have become cautious of the implications that arise when artists take ownership of other cultures for aesthetic purposes. Ranging from bindis, turbans to kimonos, we have all grown familiar with seeing the problems within cultural artifacts being used for style. The latest offender is M.I.A, whose music video was just banned for its supposed culturally appropriative content.

While no images of the video have been released, the English pop star has taken her claim to twitter to explain the premise of her video. Filmed in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, the video features an African dancer that she spent two years tracking down. M.I.A states that her intent was to celebrate this artist and provide a platform to showcase his talent.

This is not the first time M.I.A, who is of Sri Lankan descent, has been accused of cultural appropriation. Back in 2013, her video for ‘Bad Girls’ received heat for promoting Arab stereotypes. Similarly, last year, M.I.A had to push to have her self-directed ‘Double Bubble Trouble’ video released after it too was found to be controversial.

So, what do we think? Does M.I.A’s attempt to showcase different talent fall under cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation? How can we value different ideals without offending others?

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