Since the beginning of her career, M.I.A. has maintained a vivacious style all her own. Her sound is new and hypnotic, combining electronica, dance, hip-hop, and world music. But her characteristic inclination towards fusion carries over into her art and style. M.I.A. has illustrated all of her album covers and designed her clothing line herself. In both of these areas she combines vibrant colors and patterns with gleaming golds and silvers in a way that demands attention. In my opinion, she is one of the most creative artists out right now.
Though she went through somewhat of a lull in the past five years, she has remained successful in her unique approach to aesthetics.
Her newest music video, "Bad Girls", shows that M.I.A. has only improved, perhaps matured, her style in a way that only enhances the richness of her image. Just as Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga (sorry, I have to make the comparison), she asserts her strength and power as an artist through her style. Yet, the main difference is that you don't see her overwhelmingly exert her sexuality in front of the camera. That does not at all mean that she is not sexy. It's just that she is able to captivate her audience through her artistic vision, through her "bad ass" quality, and through her exuberant dance moves. She doesn't need to diss other women; her video transcends any idea of "women vs. men", an issue which the video's director, Romain Gavras, said was "outdated" for a music video in this day and age.
(Watch Video here)
In a "Behind the Scenes" video, Gavras also spoke about the video as a challenge to the stereotype that all Arab women are oppressed. Women are decked out in colorful, wildly printed headscarves and golden jewelry as they drive cars rapidly down a runway in a way that gives a whole new meaning to the trendy term, "bad bitch". Tension between men and women is absent – instead they are unified in the manifestation of M.I.A.'s iconography, style, and love for rebelliousness. The resulting video is mesmerizing.