While people around the world mourned the passing of Prince, British rapper M.I.A. used his death to drive home her #AllLivesMatter stance.
Recently, M.I.A. came under fire after questioning why Black American artists were so outspoken about #BlackLivesMatter, but not about Muslim lives, or Syrian lives, or Pakistan lives.
“It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. It’s not a new thing to me — it’s what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s,” M.I.A. said in an interview with the London Evening Standard. “Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That’s a more interesting question.”
M.I.A.’s comments not only show her ignorance about how difficult confronting anti-Blackness is, particularly for a mainstream artists, but also ignores the fact that 1) many Black folk are also Muslim, including those involved in BLM, and 2) Black artists have stepped up to demand justice for others (i.e. Palestinians) before.
Instead of using the criticism she received as a teachable moment, or a cue to shut up, M.I.A. used Prince’s death to try to further her point that she’s for all lives.
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) April 21, 2016
M.I.A.’s desperate attempt to make Prince’s death about her is deplorable enough, but ignoring the fact that he was passionate about his Blackness and supporting Black folks, which included privately donating to #BlackLivesMatter activists and Trayvon Martin’s family, is just straight up wrong.
Prince was flamboyant, an amazing entertainer, and a musical genius, but he was also BLACK. And the push to see him, and his music, as “post-racial” or “beyond race” or “purple” is not only disrespectful to his life and legacy, but also shows that anti-Blackness is a hell of a drug that some folks just aren’t ready to kick.