M.I.A. “Bad Girls” Video


The New York Times on Drag Racing in Saudi Arabia

This weekend I’m writing a piece on M.I.A. “Bad Girls” video. The video was directed by Roman Gavras and was filmed in Morocco. The imagery of the video, quite obviously, plays on car culture in Saudi Arabia. But by placing herself as the leader of the video, and the car display, M.I.A. also seems to be making a commentary about Saudi laws that bar womyn from driving. In M.I.A.’s world, not only are womyn driving, they are participating in every aspect of car culture.

The responses to M.I.A.’s video are telling – there are those who are confused by the imagery, those who believe it is a Lady Gaga schtick (M.I.A. hit the scene well before Gaga, for the record), and those who are simply confused. What could it mean? M.I.A. is an astute, thoughtful artist. Even when engaged in what appear to be “antics,” there is a message to her work.

I’d like to write about M.I.A. commentary on womyn’s rights, her creation of a diaspora of womyn of color through her connections of class, culture, access, and music, and I’d like to consider M.I.A. as a transnational subject who consciously plays with and disrupts her image.


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