M.I.A. has been in the news for comparing the Alex Jones verdict to “every celebrity pushing vaccines,” and she also just released her first album in six years, MATA. To promote the latter, she talked with another outspoken celebrity who is known for making controversial comments, Grimes, for PAPER Magazine. “Grimes has carved out a place in the music industry that is super unique, and she’s sustained it and is strong enough to hold it by herself,” M.I.A. tells PAPER. “You have to respect that. I know she must have gone through crazy shit to keep that level of identity that she has.”
There’s no mention of vaccines in their lengthy conversation, but they touch on lots of other topics, including affordable housing, public education, spirituality, cryptocurrency, motherhood, poverty, lobbying, and more. Grimes makes a case for religion as a “social technology” that could help people overcome their problems, saying:
The thesis I’ve been coming to over time is that the things we need to do to overcome our problems are technological, but that includes both literal technology and social technology, which is something we disregard too often in our culture. When I say social technology, religion is a social technology. It’s a thing people used to fill in for mental health before we had concepts of mental health. I still think religion functions better than the mental health system most of the time. Part of our issue is that we haven’t been updating our religions or making new religions that are adequate and make sense with the time. Most religions feel somewhat mythological or fantastical in the current cultural landscape, even if they contain really good teaching.
To speak about resources and technology, we have solutions to all these problems, we are just not implementing them. We have carbon capture, we have remineralization of soil and, in fact, we can do those things at the same time. If everybody started composting and we started enriching soil and putting our waste into compost and taking more care, there’s ways to take care of our earth that solve our problems that can allow for radical abundance. While I don’t think we can have equality of outcome between people, I do think something that is achievable is equality of opportunity.
She also calls for less reliance on the government, saying, “What we need to do is rely less on the government and allow individual companies to start creating the tools we need to power our lives.”
“I 100% agree with you,” M.I.A. replied. “I’m a full supporter of that and support any independent thinkers and companies who’ve got the motivation to see a vision and follow it through. But the problem is, say a company like Google, how do you then maintain their value system or ethics so that they don’t become politicized and become the government? That’s the problem we are living through now. Tech giants have become the shapers of this situation that we are seeing.”
Later in the conversation, Grimes says that after she releases the new project she’s working on, “I’m probably going to put out one more album and then I’m going to do things that are more helpful to people.” She also says she’s “literally working on a housing bill in Austin, right now.”
“I can’t wait for this album to come out and actually go and do that,” M.I.A. responds. “There is a part of me that wants to keep going straight and drive through Mexico, through South America and really take in what’s happening and what people need and do it instead of saying it. My thing is going to be affordable housing. I want to dedicate my life to that for the next five, 10 years.”
Read the conversation in full on PAPER.