Singer and Artist M.I.A.certainly isn't a stranger to creating controversy or getting people to talk. Whether through her music, activism, personal life, or antics she pulls publicly. She might not be the most popular singer in America, but she always manages to be controversial. She got people talking again after joining Madonna and Nikki Minaj on stage during the halftime show of the 2012 Superbowl when she decided to flip the bird right there on camera.
Controversy aside, there is London born artist. Here are five things you might not know about M.I.A.
She began her work as a visual artist, not in music
M.I.A studied art in college, but found the typical fashion and film curriculum boring and not what she wanted to express herself with. She went on to go into 'realism' as her film and graphic art inspiration. Famously she did the cover art for the band Elastica's 2001 album, The Menace, and was approached by John Singleton about a screenplay she had written. She denied the request. Actor Jude Law is one of the first buyers of her early art work.
M.I.A is into philanthropy as much as she's into controversial activism
She famously used $100,000 she earned as a guest singer at an MTV Movie Awards after-party to build schools in the impoverished African nation of Liberia. The donation wasn't highly publicized until the project was complete.
She's the topic of a college course
During the summer, Brown University features a music history class Music and Politics: From Mozart to M.I.A that examines how musicians use political statements in their work and expression of art.
She's made history
Forget the EGOT, M.I.A is the only artist in history to be nominated for a Grammy Award, Academy Award, Brit Award, Mercury Prize, and Turner Alternative Prize. But, out of all of those nominations, she hasn't one anything. Her biggest award is an ASCAP songwriting award.
M.I.A is politically passionate and not afraid to speak her mind
One of the things that put her on the map in America was when the New York Times Magazine published a piece calling her politically naive and looking for attention, which inspired her ire and had her give rebuttals in the Boston Phoenix saying, "...And now it's so disconnected and the media can paint a picture for you...they make so much bureaucracy and politics, and I think taking away the personal aspects, the human aspects of these political issues is really wrong...."
So whether you love her, love to hate her, or don't know much about her, you can't deny that M.I.A has made an impact with her art, music, philanthropy and activism.
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