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NOS Alive Festival - Day 3

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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!”

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.