While a list of notable celebrities were absent from this year’s Grammy Awards, one star who was very much present was the beloved Cardi B. The singer, who is set to perform at the awards, was not only there… she was THERE. Dressed in a unique pink and black ensemble, Cardi made quite the entrance and posed up an absolute storm on the red carpet with her partner Offset.
Shortly after her first appearance, the inevitable memes started flooding in on Twitter, comparing Cardi’s dress to everything from a coffee filter to a tower of Forrero Rocher’s. Yep, for real.
In actual fact, Cardi was actually coveting 1995 Mugler Couture, and whether you liked or loathed, it was certainly a look.
Video clips of Cardi getting ready before the awards soon started to surface too, and no matter what anyone else thinks, she is feeeeling herself.
This isn’t the first time the star has gone all out with her outfits. She is known to rock some eye catching looks while on the FROW of fashion week, and loves to experiment at red carpet events.
Never change Cardi, never change.
The post Twitter is having fun with Cardi B’s Grammys outfit appeared first on Marie Claire.
How do we join?
Alicia Keys hosted this year’s Grammy awards, and one of the first presenters she introduced to help her out? Well, it was the girl squad of actual dreams.
To the internet’s sheer delight, Michelle Obama stepped out hand in hand with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jennifer Lopez before the first few awards. The four joined Alicia to share positive messages of empowerment on stage.
While each of the women talked about music and empowerment, it was Obama’s speech that was met with most rapturous applause.
“Fom the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the Who Run the World songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story, and I know that’s true for everybody here,” she proudly told those watching.
She continued: “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters — every story within every voice, every note within every song, is that right ladies?”
Naturally, Twitter went absolutely crazy for the girl squad, asking what we are all thinking: HOW DO WE SIGN UP?!
All hail Alicia Keys for getting these awesome women together for this moment!
The post Michelle Obama’s Grammys’ girl squad just broke the internet appeared first on Marie Claire.
The Grammys red carpet is officially underway and the ceremony will soon be starting. But you may have noticed that some of your favourite stars are missing from the Grammys this year. Ariana Grande? Can’t seem to spot her. Beyonce? Nope. Taylor Swift? Nowhere to be seen. So er, why?
Well, there are a bunch of different reasons why loads of our favourite musicians most likely will not be around this year, starting with timing conflicts and ending with disagreements with the Grammys’ big bosses.
Ariana Grande, for example, will not be there due to a disagreement she had with Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich. When Ehrlich told press that the reason she would not be performing is because she wasn’t able to put together a performance quickly, Ariana took to Twitter to call him out, claiming the real reason she wouldn’t be there is that her creativity had been ‘stifled’:
Taylor Swift, on the other hand, will not be present due to her current schedule; the star is currently in London shooting Cats. According to Chrissy Teigen’s Twitter feed, her and John Legend were staying home rather than attending, too.
Then there were the stars who allegedly just straight up didn’t want to go. According to The New York Times, both Drake and Childish Gambino were both asked to perform but declined (it is unclear whether they will still attend), and Justin Timberlake and Ed Sheeran have not attended for a while after previous award snubs.
Similarly, Time claims that Beyonce isn’t likely to show after a 2017 snub, and predict Rihanna may be absent also as she is currently focussing on her beauty empire and has not released new music recently.
While we’re sure the show will still be great, all these absentees beg the question: are the Grammys sort of, well, over?
We’ll have to wait and see how tonight goes!
The post This is why a bunch of your favourite stars aren’t at the Grammys tonight appeared first on Marie Claire.
Her career has spanned four decades in music and TV, with endless reinventions. But what makes Kylie Minogue special is her ability to bounce back from hardships and heartbreak
Words by Michelle Davies
It was the summer of 1978, and in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Carol Minogue was wrestling with a dilemma. Her seven-year-old daughter Dannii was a stage-school attendee and desperate to go to an audition at a casting agency that was looking for child actors. But if she took her, there was nobody to look after her other kids, Kylie, ten, and Brendan, eight. ‘Eventually, I wore her down and she agreed to take me on the condition that Brendan and Kylie came along too, just to make it fair,’ Dannii later revealed. ‘Then Kylie got cast [instead].’ The idea of the eldest Minogue sister becoming a star stunned everyone – until that point, her only interest in entertainment was learning to play the piano. But her breakthrough role as a Dutch orphan in The Sullivans, a drama series set in World War II, put her on the road to a 40-year career and has seen her amass over 80 million record sales worldwide. Now 50, and second only to Madonna in terms of image reinvention, Minogue is set to spend 2019 touring on the back of her country and western-inspired album Golden – her sixth album to hit number one. ‘I had no idea music would become my life, I thought acting would be my path,’ she said.
Born Kylie Ann Minogue on 28 May 1968 in Melbourne, her mother Carol was a former stage dancer and her father, Ron, an accountant. After her eight-episode run on The Sullivans, Minogue’s next role was on a show called Skyways, where a certain Jason Donovan was cast as her older brother. Her first recollection of him was that he was ‘really chubby with a bowl haircut’, but the pair would later go on to become both on- and off-screen lovers.
In April 1986, Minogue, then 18, joined the popular daytime soap Neighbours as mechanic Charlene Mitchell. Donovan was already on the show, as Scott Robinson, and it wasn’t long before the producers decided to exploit their winsome appeal by making their characters a couple. They then began dating in real life, but played an effective ‘are they, aren’t they’ game with fans and the press. The fascination over their relationship lead to a 20 million UK audience on 8 November 1988 for the episode in which Scott and Charlene married. Off camera, though, their relationship was floundering as Minogue’s music career took off.
A year previously, she’d signed a record deal in Australia after music executives spotted her singing at a benefit concert, and her version of the 60s hit The Locomotion then spent seven weeks at the top of the Australian charts. It caught the attention of Brit record producers Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW), who flew Minogue to London to discuss working with her – but then forgot she was coming and wrote I Should Be So Lucky while she waited in reception before their meeting. ‘We had to get the song together in about 40 minutes,’ admitted Mike Stock. It was an international hit, selling an estimated 695,000 copies in the UK alone. But Donovan was struggling with Minogue’s success, despite also having signed to SAW. ‘It was a jealousy thing,’ he later said. ‘I could see her slipping away.’
In 1989, then 21, she met INXS singer Michael Hutchence and ended her romance with Donovan. ‘It was bad enough that she’d run off with anybody, but she happened to run into the arms of the greatest rock god of the period, the very guy who I secretly wanted to be,’ Donovan admitted. ‘I took a long time to recover from it.’
‘I had no idea music would become my life, I thought acting would be my path’
Much was made in the press of Minogue’s transformation while she was with Hutchence: gone was the ingénue next door and in her place was a pixie-cropped siren. ‘Let’s just say my eyes were open to the world,’ she said, crediting him for introducing her to ‘lots of firsts’. ‘It was a great love.’ The relationship confounded public expectations of a young innocent Minogue and triggered a continuing fascination with her love life. When Hutchence left her for model Helena Christensen in 1991, she then had a fling with the equally rakish Lenny Kravitz. Her music became more rebellious, too, with her third album Rhythm Of Love in 1990 spawning hits like Better The Devil You Know, which was adopted by the gay community as an anthem and turned her into its icon. In 1993, she parted ways with SAW and signed to indie label Deconstruction to release her fifth album. Tackling themes of sex and infidelity, the Barbarella-esque video for Put Yourself In My Place caused uproar, and her sales didn’t match previous highs.
It was in the late 90s that she met the man who would play a pivotal role in reviving her pop career. William Baker was an assistant at Vivienne Westwood’s store in London and a huge Minogue fan. He contacted her label asking if she had a stylist. The singer then turned up unannounced at the store to talk to him. Baker made his mark sourcing the gold hot pants she wore in the video for her comeback single Spinning Around in 2000 – her first UK number one in a decade. Contrary to the oft-quoted story, however, he didn’t pay 50p for them in an Oxfam shop. ‘She bought them years ago from a market stall, and I unearthed them from the bottom of her drawer when we were scrambling through the wardrobe looking for something,’ he revealed.
A year later, Minogue, then 33, continued her career revival with the album Fever, which featured the track Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, her most successful single to date, which earned her a BRIT award. However, once again her career was at odds with her private life. A three-year relationship with British model-turned-photographer James Gooding imploded in early 2003 when his infidelity was exposed. He then sold his story to a tabloid newspaper and she described splitting as ‘difficult and emotional’. She wasn’t single for long, though, meeting French actor Olivier Martinez at the Grammys that February. Speculation grew that he’d propose, but Minogue often hinted marriage wasn’t for her. ‘Who knows if that’s part of my story. But maybe I’m just a little bit unconventional,’ she said. ‘I never had it as a goal.’
Then, two years into their relationship, the singer’s gilded life turned a desperately sad corner. On 17 May 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a partial mastectomy. ‘Oli was there all the time, helping with the practical stuff and being protective,’ she said. The treatment all but destroyed her chances of having children naturally, something she only discussed for the first time last year when she revealed she’d undergone a medical menopause after her oestrogen levels were suppressed to fight the cancer. ‘Of course I wonder what [having children] would be like, but your destiny is your destiny, ’ she said.
‘Who knows if marriage is part of my story’
In 2007, she returned to the spotlight with a new album, X, and also released a documentary called White Diamond: A Personal Portrait Of Kylie Minogue, shot behind the scenes on her Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour. It was a welcome return to being in front of the camera. She’d never turned her back on acting completely, though – she starred as The Green Fairy in 2001’s Moulin Rouge!, and appeared on various TV shows, including Australian cult comedy series, Kath & Kim. Yet music was where her heart lay, and in 2012 she undertook a 12-month celebration of her quarter-century in the music industry, named K25. But while her career was thriving, the effort of maintaining it was putting pressure on her personal life. Since 2008, she’d been in a relationship with Spanish model Andreas Velencoso, ten years her junior, and in 2012 had described him as ‘the one’. But it ended just 12 months later, apparently due to work commitments driving them apart, leaving her ‘devastated’. In 2016, she became a judge on The Voice, and stunned everyone by accepting a whirlwind proposal from 29-year-old British actor Joshua Sasse. Their highly publicised split in February 2017 left her ‘broken’ and she went to Thailand with friends to recover. ‘I just wanted to stop. I knew I needed to heal,’ she said. ‘My physical system was compromised. I think it’s called a nervous breakdown.’
Her recovery sparked another change of musical direction and image when she flew to Nashville, birthplace of country music, to record her album Golden. ‘It was, in many ways, a great escape,’ she said. ‘I was quite fragile when I started work on it, but being able to express myself in the studio made quick work of regaining my sense of self.’
Today, Minogue is continuing to celebrate her musical milestones, marking the 30th anniversary of her and Donovan’s duet, Especially For You, in November last year. She also reunited with another Neighbours co-star, Guy Pearce, to film the Australian comedy Swinging Safari, in which she played a housewife. She has found love with Welsh-born GQ magazine creative director Paul Solomons, 43. They were introduced by a mutual friend in February 2018 and went public at Minogue’s 50th birthday celebrations last May. As for which musical incarnation will follow ‘country Kylie’, Minogue isn’t saying, but she has been refreshingly candid about how she’ll cosmetically transform her image into ‘ageless Kylie’ if she needs to. ‘I’m not pro or against [surgery]. One of my absolute idols is Jane Fonda, and the way she has handled it is admirable,’ Minogue said in an interview last year. ‘I remember her saying something like, it’s 80 per cent genetics, ten per cent taking care of yourself and ten per cent a good surgeon. So if, and when, the time comes I’ll be taking a leaf out of her book.’
The post Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie on 40 years of reinvention appeared first on Marie Claire.
Stop right now.
As the Spice Girls prepare to go on tour once again (we’ve just got time for one last WOO), we’ve been practicing our best peace poses, frantically looking for a Union Jack dress online, and listening to the Wannabe rap on repeat because no one wants to fall short when that banger comes on, do they?
Except, when you look up the lyrics you’ll find that you actually had no idea what you were singing all along.
Warning: You’ll never be able to hear it in the same way ever again. Especially when you think of how often you’d belt it out aged seven.
We recently found out what zig-ah-zig-ah means, and that blew our minds, but wait until you hear this.
It turns out the official lyrics are: ‘So here’s a story from A to Z/You wanna get with me you gotta listen carefully/We got Em in the place who likes it in your face/We got G like MC who likes it on an/Easy V doesn’t come for free, she’s a real lady/And as for me, ha you’ll see.’
Still no idea what it all means? It’s actually a break down of each Spice Girl’s sexual preferences. And no one had any idea.
Let’s break it down.
‘We’ve got Em in the place‘ is likely a reference to Emma/Baby Spice who, apparently, ‘likes it in your face‘. Pretty self explanatory.
Then ‘we got G like MC‘ (Geri and Mel C) who ‘like it on an e‘ – this one really caught us off guard. Who knew that we’ve been unknowingly singing that for over twenty years?
‘Easy V‘ actually gets it very easy because she doesn’t come for free – ‘she’s a real lady‘, so congrats Posh.
And Mel B’s is steeped in mystery as we’ll just have to see what she’s all about.
We’ll be singing it with our new-found knowledge at the forefront of our minds in June.
The post What the rap in Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ really means appeared first on Marie Claire.
Turn it up.
The radio industry has been put under a microscope in the last year. From Vick Hope revealing that male presenters are free to literally take away their female co-host’s voices, and the controversy at Radar Radio, to Tina Daheley’s reflection on the ‘laddy’ culture that was pervasive during her time on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, the medium has been exposed for the hotbed of toxic masculinity that it often is.
Let’s hear it then, for Becky Richardson, Ami Bennett and Frankie Wells, who have decided to shake up this status quo and create Foundation.fm, the female-led radio station launching on Monday 5th November.
With experience at 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and UROK Management, these three trailblazing women have combined their unique skill sets and set about nurturing new talent and showcasing the hottest names on the underground scene. The one big difference to most radio stations? Foundation.fm is a station led by women and LGTBQI+ persons.
On top of this, Richardson, Bennett and Wells haven’t just considered who will benefit from the station’s establishment, but also, how. Boiler Room and BBC Radio 1Xtra producer Kamilla will be heading up the Brunch show, which will replace the traditional concept of a breakfast show and start at 10am. That means no more missing out on celebrity guests for those of us who don’t work a the traditional 9-5.
As for presenters, with their roster including members of Future Girl Corp, DJ duo Sicaria Sounds and the women behind The Receipts podcast, Foundation.fm has an ever-growing lineup that is not to be missed.
A female-led, diverse safe space, promoting the newest and best underground talent? Come November 5th, we’re switching on and tuning in.
foundation.fm is live every day online from 10am-10pm from Monday November 5th
The post Meet the female-led radio station disrupting the airwaves appeared first on Marie Claire.
One of the most successful female artists in British pop history is a down-to-earth north-London girl who likes drinking G&Ts from a can. Jess Glynne talks bisexuality, music and body image with Alix O’Neill
Does any singer have a better knack for an earworm than Jess Glynne? It’s taken just three years – and one album – for the 28-year-old to hit the number-one spot more times than any other female British solo artist, trumping even the mighty Adele.
Her voice, at once smoky and powerful, first ripped through the pop landscape in 2014 on Clean Bandit’s Rather Be, and now has a share in virtually every nightclub dance floor, upbeat car-journey playlist and video montage going (she became a victim of her own success this year when customers of the airline Jet2 complained about Hold My Hand being played on a loop – Glynne apologised, despite having no personal control over the company’s sound system).
Now she’s back with album number two, Always In Between, a triumphant medley of confessional, upbeat tracks, including the hotly tipped Thursday, co-written with Ed Sheeran.
When I call her she’s in the back of a car going to the airport, en route to China to perform at an awards ceremony. Glynne may be a global pop sensation, but she’s also a hard-working north-London girl with a throaty laugh and frank take on everything from body image to bisexuality (she wrote her first album after a painful break-up with a girlfriend). The lyric from her Ed Sheeran track, ‘I don’t wear make-up on Thursdays, I drink gin from a tin’, says it all.
Tell us about your new album. Was it tough to write given the huge success of I Cry When I Laugh?
‘It took a while. Initially, I felt I was ready to write again but went in prematurely. Then, towards the end of 2017, I was like, “Right, I’m ready”, and asked if we could get a bit of space in the middle of nowhere. So they found this house for me in Sussex. We went away for a week. It was one of the best weeks of my life. I was with people I knew and people I hadn’t met before, we became like a family. I walked out with a complete album.’
Do you put pressure on yourself to succeed? I heard you originally wrote 100 songs to find your sound…
‘I’m a big fat perfectionist and have real issues with control. When it comes to a song, the production, the video, the styling, I find it hard to hand things over [but] you have to trust people. I’m hard on myself and that’s not always a good thing, but I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve got to where I am.’
Is the title of your new album a comment on your sexuality?
‘It comes from the fact that my life has been in between for the last four years. I’ve been here, there and everywhere in work, my personal life and relationships – be it with a man or a woman. The reason I chose that title is because I’ve accepted that it’s OK to not be one way or the other. I wanted to say you’re not lost by being in the middle. The sexuality thing does come into it, but that’s not only what it’s about.
You’ve previously talked about being in toxic relationships and having your heart broken. Has that made you more cautious in love?
‘Yeah, I think it would for anyone. Love is tricky. I couldn’t live without it, but it’s not something I necessarily find easy. I’ve been in relationships for years and this is the first time I’ve been single for a little minute. It’s quite nice to have a moment to yourself. If something was to come along, I’m never going to turn it away if it feels right, but just now, I’m content.’
You talk about insecurities in the song Thursday. Have you reached self-acceptance?
‘I think, entering this world, your life is kind of ripped from you, and it takes a lot of getting used to. For me, there’s a pressure to look amazing and happy all of the time. There are times when you’re tired and you’re not in the best mood and have spots on your face.’
Do you think there’s a lot of pressure on female artists to be sexual?
‘I think girls feel the need to present themselves in a sexual way. But I also feel it’s nice to make yourself feel good. Girls are sexy human beings, so why not accentuate that? You can do it in a classy way, where you’re not overdoing it. But yes, there is definitely a pressure, which I don’t think is OK. If you don’t want to present yourself as a sex symbol, you shouldn’t have to.’
You turned down the chance to audition for The X Factor when you were 15. Do you think there’s still a place for shows like that given the new conversations around mental health?
‘Shows like The X Factor create opportunities that people wouldn’t necessarily have, but if you put yourself in front of an audience you risk getting slated. You have to be prepared for both. I would never have done anything like that because I don’t think I could deal with people judging me. I didn’t want music to be a competition. But yes, I think those shows can mess with you mentally. We’re recognising now that people need to speak about their anxieties. For much of my life, I didn’t do that because I thought I’d be looked down on.’
How do you feel about social media? Do you like to take a break every so often?
‘In 2017, I deleted Instagram for quite a while. It was really nice to just have a break from looking at other peoples’ lives and worrying about whether my life was good or not. I think it’s one of the most amazing things to be able to connect with your fans and show your work, but it can have a negative effect on the way you look at yourself. [It’s important to remember] the perfection you see on screen is not the truth.’
Jess Glynne’s second album, Always In Between, is out 12 October on Atlantic
Photographs by Stephanie Sian Smith, styling by Grace Wright
The post ‘Those shows can mess with you mentally’ Jess Glynne on The X Factor, singledom and album number two appeared first on Marie Claire.
‘I’m so sorry I couldn’t fix or take your pain away. I really wanted to.’
It was announced this month that US rapper Mac Miller had died of a suspected drug overdose, found dead in his California home.
There was an outpouring of love following the 26-year-old’s tragic death, with Mac having famously struggled with substance abuse for years.
Celebrities and fans came out in their thousands to pay tribute to the rapper, with the brother of his former girlfriend of two years Ariana Grande, Frankie Grande, calling him ‘a good friend’ and crediting Miller for helping him with his own addiction.
Ariana chose to stay silent, instead posting a captionless black and white photo of Miller to her Instagram.
This week however, the God is a Woman singer broke her silence, releasing an emotional statement about her ex boyfriend, alongside a sweet throwback video of the him laughing.
‘I adored you from the day i met you when i was nineteen and i always will,’ she posted in a heartbreaking goodbye. ‘I can’t believe you aren’t here anymore. i really can’t wrap my head around it. we talked about this. so many times. i’m so mad, i’m so sad i don’t know what to do. you were my dearest friend. for so long. above anything else. i’m so sorry i couldn’t fix or take your pain away. i really wanted to.’
Ariana concluded her message: ‘the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. i hope you’re okay now. rest.’
Our thoughts are with Mac Miller’s loved ones.
The post Ariana Grande has broken her silence since Mac Miller’s tragic death appeared first on Marie Claire.
With a new documentary out this month, musician M.I.A. chats to film-maker Deeyah Khan about art, controversy and the meaning of wokeness
‘It’s nice to talk to somebody who’s also complicated, and I have a feeling you are,’ says M.I.A. (otherwise known as Maya) to the film-maker Deeyah Khan. Complicated is one way to describe M.I.A.’s own journey from Sri Lankan refugee living on a London council estate to one of the most provocative and genre-busting artists of her generation. Khan, meanwhile, is the daughter of Afghan and Pakistani immigrants to Norway and a celebrated film-maker and human rights activist (her latest film, White Right: Meeting The Enemy just scored an Emmy nomination). But the two women share more than their multicultural backgrounds. While Khan started out as a musician before becoming a film-maker, M.I.A. wanted to be a documentary-maker, studying film at art school before music took over. In her new documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., we’re given a glimpse of this original ambition, as a vast archive of footage shot on her own handheld camera is unearthed and edited by director Stephen Loveridge into a fascinating fly-on-the-wall journey through her early life and rise to global stardom. ‘I believe I could talk to you for hours,’ says Khan at the beginning of their chat. Over an hour later, they’re still going…
Deeyah: I’m sure people have asked you the question, ‘Are you an artist who happens to reflect the times we’re living in or are you a political artist?’
M.I.A.: I like to be a walking question mark. It’s important for me never to be in a box because that box constantly changes, and it literally pulls the rug from under your feet when you least expect it. As soon as I was comfortable being a Tamil girl living in a village in Sri Lanka, I was thrust into a new situation [and] a different box. I was the underprivileged refugee with no money, and a single parent. People constantly try to find those labels, ‘Be like this, you’re this’. Even with this documentary, it could be, ‘Oh, you’re just the representative for refugees’, but people forget within that box there are so many types…
DK: It’s tiring to embody other people’s perceptions and limitations. What I admire is that you seem to have become comfortable in your own skin quite early on. For me, that’s one thing I struggled with.
M.I.A.: So many girls struggle with that.
DK: It was hard for me to find my own voice. You always had the need to express yourself – I did too, and believe everybody does; it’s just a matter of finding what that language is going to be. It seemed like it was present in you early on, but what I didn’t realise is that you wanted to be a film-maker initially.
M.I.A.: Yeah, I tried to be a film-maker, but now my friend Steve [Loveridge, who directed her documentary] has beaten me to it.
DK: It’s incredible footage in the documentary when you go back to Sri Lanka [in 2001]. Why did you end up filming yourself as much as you did, by the way? Was it just to document?
M.I.A.: When I got to Sri Lanka, because cameras were banned there, I felt like every person I had my camera near was being put in a life-threatening situation. So, I filmed myself to try to articulate what the documentary was becoming.
DK: Have there been any implications for your family who were included in the film?
M.I.A.: My cousin, who says in it, ‘Oh, you don’t really know the war experience’ is telling me that because he’d lived in a refugee camp for 13 years from when I left in 1985. He used to say when fruit fell off a tree, they had to race the animals to get to it first. I didn’t think life could be any worse than what he’d been through. He’d suffered so much that I wanted it on tape, because it was important to tell his story. And his sister was just so broken by it; there was a generation of girls growing up in the north who didn’t want to draw attention to themselves, they didn’t want dress up nice or put new clothes on…
DK: I think it’s hard for people to understand the necessity for so many girls and women to make themselves invisible. Just recently, we’ve seen a young woman in Iran arrested for posting little videos of herself dancing on Instagram. What we, and so many women, take for granted is for others an absolute act of rebellion. But speaking of danger in general, I know that your immediate family is in England. Has your activism caused any pain or difficulties for them?
M.I.A.: My dad was already part of [revolutionary group the Tamil Tigers], so my family were used to dealing with that.
DK: Do you self-censor as a result?
M.I.A.: Yeah. When I made the Born Free video [depicting a genocide of red-haired people that was banned from YouTube], a lot of my family distanced themselves from me.
DK: That’s my favourite video of yours, actually.
M.I.A.: They were like, you just don’t need to bring that kind of attention. But even in America, successful Tamil people were being targeted and put in jail on the advice of the Sri Lankan government. Whether you were silent or not, it just didn’t matter. Now I still feel targeted if I speak about Julian Assange or the Internet or Facebook.
DK: I’ve always been curious – obviously your past hasn’t been easy. You’re the first woman of your background to have landed where you are. Has the struggle and pushback you’ve had been worth it?
M.I.A.: It’s too early to say. I value everything equally. Sometimes, I don’t see the fights as something terrible, they’re almost a necessity. When they show up ignorance, that’s when you can work towards creating understanding.
DK: The word ‘understanding’ is probably at the core of all I try to do. My obsession is to see if we can [recognise] ourselves in others, to empathise with the people who the politicians are creating so much fear around.
M.I.A.: People talk about wokeness as post-2015. The new woke demographic feel life was perfect until Trump won. But for us, the difference between Trump winning or not is like just another pebble in the pond. It’s difficult to talk about how long the timeline is when so many people go, ‘But life was great before. What are you talking about?’
DK: In America, I find a disconnect from the rest of the planet, an unwillingness to accept something else might be going on other than Trump. You speak to [a lot of] Americans and ask them about their biggest enemy, which at this point feels like 1.8 billion Muslims. And yet all they know about them is stereotypes, whereas people in Muslim countries know so much about US culture. Do you feel your politics is often dismissed?
M.I.A.: Oh yeah.
DK: In the documentary, a Sri Lankan official says, ‘She should just stick to what she is good at, which is music.’ Does that often get thrown at you?
M.I.A.: Who are they to say I can’t? If you take away that voice, you give it to a politician who doesn’t come to the war zone, he sits in an office writing orders.
DK: And artists have always been at the front line, telling these stories and raising the alarm.
M.I.A.: In Sri Lanka, women were not scared to fight. They were totally fine cutting their hair short and picking up a gun, because they had no other choice.
DK: The more successful you get, do you feel a responsibility for raising your voice even more, or are there more considerations to take into account? Does the fact that you’re a mother have any impact on the activist in you?
M.I.A.: You need to evolve in different directions. If you have respect for life, you exist in a way that understands the fundamental, basic things about what connects us as human beings [it doesn’t matter] what religion or road you take.
Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. is in cinemas from 21 September. View Deeyah Khan’s Emmy-nominated White Right: Meeting The Enemy and BAFTA-nominated documentary Jihad on Netflix
The post ‘Has it all been worth it?’ Deeyah Khan talks to musician M.I.A about family, roots and resilience appeared first on Marie Claire.