The Stephen Loveridge-directed documentary about M.I.A., Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., is having its New York premiere this week, which means that M.I.A. herself has been giving some interviews. In a new one with Huck magazine, she talks about the infamous Super Bowl incident of 2012, when she flipped the middle finger on camera during her appearance in Madonna’s performance. The NFL originally asserted $16.6 million in damages, though almost three years after the performance they settled with M.I.A. in private arbitration for an undisclosed amount.
In the new interview, she says that Jay-Z encouraged her to comply with a “ridiculous” settlement with the NFL while she was at his Roc Nation management company:
If you’re talking about racism and sexism, that moment in my life showed the cracks in everyone I knew. I was at Roc Nation at the time and Jay Z was managing me. 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 dollars. Jay Z was, like, ‘you should sign that shit’ and I was, like, ‘no.’
“A middle finger, it’s like get a fucking 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,” she continues. “Oh god, I hope the NFL doesn’t sue me again for talking about it.” The article then says that a third party present at the interview said that the topic shouldn’t be discussed.
You can read the full piece here. In a tweet, M.I.A. said to “read this before it’s deleated [sic] from internet.”
Read this before it's deleated from internet .
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) March 28, 2018