M.I.A. Accuses Grammys of Stealing Something She Never Owned

Vows to keep a log of any who dare nick her ideas

M.I.A. Grammys Stealing Bob Marley Tribute Lights
Sting and Bruno Mars caught red-handed / Photo by Getty Images
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

M.I.A. has accused the Grammys of stealing the concept of squares from her. Or is it neon lights? Performing on stage? Really, it's unclear, but it seems she's upset that the awards show's tribute to Bob Marley framed its all-star cast with colorful luminescent tubes totally inspired by vintage signage a concert that she gave in January. After updating her Tumblr with a screen shot displaying side-by-side freeze frames of the Grammys performance and her Sydney, Australia show, she promoted her theory via Twitter:


The Tumblr image shows the aforementioned "steal log," which she's of course titled "MIA VS THE SYSTEM." Within the shot is an open Apple Notes document in which the following words appear: "My ideas came from my life. My set was based on Tamil Hindu temple. Not Bob Marley." And below the photo, she's written, "If U wanna see the real thing or get it first come to a M.I.A. show!" Though if you can't make it to a gig, you could always string together a bunch of skinny glow sticks and staple them to your bedroom wall.

Much like the #seapunk posse who got salty over Rihanna appropriating their preferred imagery, M.I.A. fails to acknowledge that a huge part of her personal aesthetic is based on utilizing whatever idea suits her hyper-patterned bird-flipping fancy. And what's more, the comparison here simply doesn't hold water. Sure, it's a kinda similar setup, but so is anything involving squares of light. Until you enter the third dimension (see cubes by Deadmau5, Etienne de Crecy, or Watch the Throne), you'd best consider that patent pending.

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