(Photo: Paper Magazine)
For its November issue, M.I.A. gives Paper magazine a loud dose of color and that attitude we love her for. Wearing Acne and Crème de Silkt tops, a headpiece by Tom Manaton, custom-made pants by M.I.A., and shoes by Kenzo, the London-born artist poses against a wall of images pulled from her self-titled art book. In the interview, she talks about her book, the 2012 NFL Super Bowl incident in which she gave 111.3 million viewers the middle finger, and what she has to say to critics who think she's trying to do too much.
"I feel like people put me down because I did too many things," the 37-year-old says. "Like, 'You put so much effort in so many directions that there’s not enough yield. You don't focus on money. But you put all these things together and you don't make it work for you. You don't sell Isht.'"
But don't expect her to start focusing on just one thing now. The rapper's latest side project is a coffee-table book titled M.I.A., which features a collection of artwork she made for each of her albums as well as lyrics and narratives about her music and persona.
"Even though kids embraced [my art], and people started making crappy fashion GIFs on the computer and disgusting websites and wearing weird leggings, there never was a place where people could go to be like, 'This is where it came from,'" she says.
The 37-year-old unapologetic trendsetter loves doing things her way and doesn't look back even when surrounded by controversy. She addressed the NFL Super Bowl halftime show in which she took the stage with headliner Madonna and then stuck her middle finger out for millions of viewers.
"I feel like people being reactionary to what I do is really on them, not on me.… The media freaking out is always going to happen. It's cultural, you know."
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