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M.I.A.: 'I'm not slamming Beyonce over Black Lives Mattter'

Rapper M.I.A. has rowed back on her criticism of Beyonce but not the Black Lives Matter movement.

In an interview with London's Evening Standard, the Sri Lankan star questioned those involved in the campaign against police brutality towards African-Americans on the grounds that it fails to embrace victims of violence beyond the U.S.


Beyonce drew wider attention to the movement by utilizing imagery from the black power movement of the 1970s and Black Lives Matter in her performance at the National Football League's (NFL) Super Bowl in February (16).


As a result M.I.A, real name Mathangi Arulpragasam, namechecked Beyonce and rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose song Alright has become an anthem of the movement, as narrowly focused on that specific campaign rather than wider human rights issues.


"It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter," she said, adding. "Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters?"


The singer pondered whether a similar movement advocating support for Muslims or Syrians would be embraced by Americans. "That’s a more interesting question. And you cannot ask it on a song that’s on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV program, you cannot create that tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama is not going to hump you back," she ranted.


The Paper Planes singer faced criticism from one of the leaders of the movement, Johnetta Elzie, who wrote on Twitter, "MIA really has no clue. America didn't "allow" black folks to talk about anything."


M.I.A. took to Twitter to clarify her comments and has rowed back on her criticism of Beyonce but stressed anti-racism movements should embrace wider goals.


"My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016," she wrote on Twitter. "This has been the number 1 question for me," adding, "A#blacklivesmatter B#Muslimlivesmatter. I'm not Muslim. My criticism wasn't about Beyoncé. It's how u can say A not B right now in 2016."


At the time of WENN going to press, neither Beyonce or Kendrick had responded to M.I.A.'s comments.