I remember really loving M.I.A.’s music. “No one on the corner has swagger like us!” “All I want to do is pom pom pom pom and take your money.” Hits. But she fell from grace in my eyes when she made some questionable and incredibly tone-deaf comments about the Black Lives Matter movement.
She’s ignorant but I don’t think it warrants that we permanently dismiss her or that she not be given the money she’s owed for her contributions.
But that’s exactly what the NFL tried to force her to do, with the cosign of her former manager, Jay Z.
if you’ll recall Madonna brought M.I.A. on stage to perform with her during the halftime show. During the performance, the British born rapper with Sri Lankan Tamil roots decided to give the middle finger to the camera.
And you know, with the FCC being what it is and the history of controversial halftime show performances, the NFL wanted to make her pay for her sins.
The NFL and M.I.A. went back and forth for over a year trying to determine what that punishment would be. Eventually, they drafted a contract that would ensure that M.I.A. would willingly forfeit millions of dollars to the league.
In an interview with Huck Magazine, she said, ““I was at Roc Nation at the time and Jay-Z was managing me,” M.I.A. tells The Huck. “The lawsuit was so ridiculous, it proposed that they would keep one hundred percent of my earnings for the rest of my life if I ever earned more than $2 million. JAY-Z was like, ‘You should sign that s**t’, and I was like, ‘No’. A middle finger, it’s like, ‘Get a f**king grip’. People were like, ‘Oh you’re lucky you’re not in jail, give up all your profit, be this slave for the rest of your life’.”
Initially, the NFL filed a $1.5 million arbitration claim against her, stating that the display of her middle finger was a breach of contract that tarnished the league’s goodwill and reputation. In March 2014, they added an additional $15 million to the claim.
Two years later, M.I.A. eventually settled with the NFL in August 2014. The terms of the settlement have never been released.