Confrontational rapper M.I.A showed she has lost none of her fire as she launched a blistering attack on talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and her music producer ex-boyfriend Diplo.
Real name Mathangi Arulpragasam, she did an interview marking the 10th anniversary of her groundbreaking album Arular and remembered an incident at a party in 2009 when she was nominated by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of the 21st century.
M.I.A recalled that despite taking a smiling photograph with her, Oprah was very dismissive. The singer said: “Yeah, she didn’t talk to me. She shut me down. She took that photo of me, but she was just like: ‘I can’t talk to you because you’re crazy and you’re a terrorist’.
“I was like: ‘I’m not. I’m a Tamil. There are people dying in my country and you have to look at it because you’re f***ing Oprah and every American told me you’re going to save the world’.”
M.I.A also spoke about the rocky relationship with Diplo, who she dated when she broke through. She accused him of being overly critical, holding her back and jealousy. “It’s only now when I look back at it in 2015, I can see that he (Diplo) was just jealous and couldn’t wait to be Taylor Swift’s best friend and date Katy Perry.
“But at that time I believed him. I just felt like he was right and was something of a political, righteous person with some values. I didn’t realise it was just jealousy.”
M.I.A recalled how the media started calling her a terrorist in the early part of her career, and that some people in the music industry, including close friends, started to turn against her.
“It was a difficult time because I felt what I had done up to that point offered really positive things. It had music and fashion and visual stuff that represented something that not negative,” she said.
She remains proud of Arular 10 years later and hopes someone else soon will deliver an album like that which breaks boundaries.
M.I.A had been estranged from Diplo for a number of years, but the two became friends again after the interview, uploading a photograph together. But I don’t think she will be connecting with Oprah any time soon.