I want to ask you about the Super Bowl halftime show in 2012. This was a huge audience, an American audience, a world audience. And on camera, you gave us all the middle finger. Why did you do that?
It’s the Matangi mudra.
What is that? Why does that explain it?
Well, you know gang signs — 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.
So you were not giving America the middle finger? This was the Matangi symbol?
Yes. Do you like that? (Laughing) It’s good, isn’t it?
Something tells me that there might have been another meaning in that.
It’s cultural! In my country, it’s godly. OK?
Is the NFL believing that? I know they’re suing you.
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.
Read M.I.A.’s full interview with NPR’s David Greene»
Photo: Daniel Sannwald