M.I.A made what was probably 2015's most powerful music video with Borders.
It was powerful, sleek and one of the most humanist moments of her career to date.
It's no coincidence that it has been listed as one of 2015's finest videos - no one else hits as hard for the international community. And no one else is as out there and willing to court the ire as much as she is, which makes anything she does a natural target for criticism.
In the video for Borders, which you can see below if you haven't already, M.I.A forces us to look at borders and boundaries from a human perspective. It's populated by a choreographed mass of male refugees who disperse and reform to great effect - the naval arrangement is mind blowing - and powered along by M.I.A's amazing graphic touch. She was after all, a visual artist before she became a genre hopping music act.
But M.I.A's graphic touch is what often gets her into trouble - and it's the case here. In the past her mimicry of symbols, slogans and icons have done a lot to help her take her place as one of the current era's most switched on and tuned in artists.
But in Borders, she briefly dons a pirated football jersey - the Paris Saint-Germain jersey - adapted as only M.I.A knows how.
The video, which has been flowing around for months has outraged the football club. They're convinced that M.I.A's appropriation of the jersey is somehow linking them to the inhumane aspects of the refugee crisis that the world hasn't ever seen the likes of.
In a rambling kind of cease and desist letter, they note that as a football team they do so much for the community, that they are confused about how they can be seen to be responsible for the crisis and a whole lot of other blah blah blah - it's all about me - nonsense.
It seems that M.I.A's track record with the football industry in general looks to keep continuing on its trajectory.
Now that she's outraged the NFL and now the European leagues, what else can we look forward to? As an Australian I hope she can pull of something to get those smug AFL and Rugby leagues to come down off their perch a bit. Then she could probably make it global with a bit more uproar in Asia and South America.
Seriously. Does nobody understand irony anymore? Do overpaid legal teams have nothing else left to do?
It's M.I.A actually wearing the top that has got people all hot and bothered.
I get that we're moving into seriously paranoid waters but can we just get over it? Can we actually celebrate an artist without threatening her with a law suit? Seeing that jersey made me chuckle when I saw it. But clearly I'm an idiot because I should've interpreted it as likening the PSG squad to human barbarians. And how its inclusion in a clip that the mainstream shamefully have been ignoring has the potential to strip and crumble that poor little organisation, sending it into the ground and burying its... oh I can't even be bothered.
Watch it here before all the paralegals at Youtube start panicking and start stripping its presence from the web. They may well do that, but they certainly can't strip it of its eloquence.
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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