M.I.A.'s 'Singer' ignites controversy

Tune blasts Times writer; fuels Sri Lankan singer's politics

NEW YORK -- M.I.A. takes aim at "journalists," "haters" and "racists" in a new song called "I'm a Singer," which she posted to her official website on Sunday (May 30) in response to a New York Times profile that breaks down her controversial image.

"So you wanna hear about my politics? I can show you things that would make you sick," M.I.A. raps on the song. "And the story's always f***ed by the time it hits/And why the hell would journalists be thick as sh*t?/'Cause lies equals power equals politics."

Written by Lynn Hirschberg, the New York Times piece contrasts M.I.A.'s celebrity lifestyle with her politicized image and music, particularly her connection to a militant Sri Lanka group, the Tamil Tigers, that led some to describe her as a terrorist. "'I kind of want to be an outsider,' she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry," Hirschberg writes of M.I.A. in the story. "'I don't want to make the same music, sing about the same stuff, talk about the same things. If that makes me a terrorist, then I'm a terrorist.'"

M.I.A. tweeted angrily about the piece last week, saying, "News is an opinion!" and posting Hirschberg's cell phone number. "Call me if you wanna talk to me about the NY T truth issue, ill b taking calls all day bitches." Callers were directed to Hirschberg's voicemail, and the writer later described the move as "infuriating and not surprising" as well as "fairly unethical."

M.I.A. also promised to post her unedited interview with Hirschberg on her website but has since posted two brief audio excerpts, one of which suggests that it was the writer who ordered the French fries.

The New York Times profile isn't the only M.I.A. story generating controversy. The singer has been speaking to several outlets to promote her July 13 album "/\/\Y/\," and in an interview with Nylon, she shares her thoughts on Google and Facebook. "[They] were developed by the CIA, and when you're on there, you have to know that," she says. M.I.A. also recently criticized Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, telling U.K. magazine NME that Bieber's music videos are "more violent and more of an assault to my eyes" than her controversial "Born Free" (in which redheaded boys are rounded up and shot by officers) and that Gaga is "not progressive, but she's a good mimic"...none of her music's reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is."
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