M.I.A. simultaneously won fans and offended people everywhere when she gave the finger during her Super Bowl halftime performance in 2012 – now she’s saying it was a tribute to the Hindu goddess Matangi, which coincidentally is the name of her latest album.
The NFL attempted to slap the English rapper with a $1.5 million fine over the incident, but the 38-year-old did the ol’ “I can’t go for that, no can do” and is now being sued by the League. And in an new interview on NPR, M.I.A. has claimed it was in fact a godly gesture:
“In America you have gang signs, and people throw up initials and stuff like that. Well, 5,000 years ago, there was thing called a mudra, which is your sitting position when you do yoga or you’re meditating or praying or whatever. And you have different ones based on what you’re meditating over. There’s not a lot of them that are named after gods and goddesses, but the middle finger is specifically named Matangi — the Matangi mudra.”
Earlier in the year, she told NME that her middle finger action had been about female empowerment and that in her country, the move was considered godly:
“Of course the NFL is not believing that, because the NFL does not believe in any other culture outside of the NFL. But it’s true; you can Wikipedia it. You can just say ‘Matangi’ and ‘mudra’, and you’ll see it’s the middle finger.”
M.I.A. has just dropped her fourth full-length studio album, Matangi, winning herself some famous fans like Julian Assange, who called her “the most courageous woman working in Western music” and opened her New York City show last week via Skype.
Watch: M.I.A. flips a sexy bird at Super Bowl XLVI