M.I.A. did an interview with ES Magazine where she had this to say about the lack of concern for Muslims:
“It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter,” she told ES Magazine.
“It’s not a new thing to me - it’s what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s. Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? 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 programme, you cannot create a tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama isn’t going to hump you back.”
And by allowed you mean...what exactly? Because anytime someone shows support for BLM, they are met with scrutiny. There are many supporters of the movement, yes, but it’s still stigmatized. Her comments are similar to NBPOC who criticized the Oscars So White hashtag. They felt there weren’t enough people showing concern for Asians, Native Americans,
Another problem I have with her comments is the lack of nuance. Black Muslims exist so the BLM movement applies to them as well. If M.I.A. wants to play this game then how about this: why hasn’t she said anything about the racism that Black Muslims endure from brown Muslims?
This is the thing with NBPOC who expect black people to be more vocal about their issues. They never want to acknowledge the anti-black racism in their communities. It is not our responsibility to start hashtags and grassroots movements for other groups. Black people have been creating progressive movements for ourselves for over a century. NBPOC who are passionate about the racism their people endure need to get together with their people and make their movements as visible as BLM. Many black people have no problem showing solidarity to NBPOC but don’t you ever imply that we are obligated to do so, and don’t you ever imply that black people don’t care about others just because we’re not as vocal about NBPOC’s issues. We have to prioritize ourselves because no one else prioritizes us.