M.I.A. Calls MTV Video Music Awards ‘Racist, Classist, Elitist’

M.I.A. says her work is too "global" to be accepted in the American mainstream.

By Hayden Wright

M.I.A.’s “Borders” came up empty-handed when the 2016 MTV Video Music Award nominations were announced yesterday. And while that may come as no surprise (least of all to M.I.A.), the controversy-prone rapper decided to use this moment to make a point about inclusion. According to the rapper, artists with provocative voices about global politics are routinely excluded from mainstream celebrations.

“MIA – BORDERS is not included in the VMAs #hahahahhaahahhaha!!,” she tweeted. “Racism sexism classism elitism #dontwantyourlane!”

Related: M.I.A. Selects Title and Release Date for Next Album

She added that predictable, safe-and-same nominations for major awards stifle the voice of artists who push the envelope by raising international issues—such as refugee crises, human trafficking and political unrest—and sharing global sounds.

“BORDERS came representing people outside US showing [the world],” she tweeted. “This is a perfect example of “allowed” voice vs excluded voices. Even if U direct it.”

And while M.I.A. said it’s not about ego—maybe it’s a little bit about ego—she wrote that she’s merely trying to help other artists in her “lane” get credit where it’s due.

“Not here 4 EGO or Accolades but know before you tell other [global] artists they have the same platform as major US artists coz they don’t,” she concluded.

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