M.I.A. tells crowd ‘The BBC have banned M.I.A. at Glastonbury’ for political T-shirt slogan

Singer's fellow performers wore T-shirts reading 'Stop Tamil Deportation'

Update: A spokesperson for the BBC confirmed that M.I.A.’s set was streamed live on the BBC website and highlights were shown on BBC Two and on the BBC Red Button. The spokesperson says that “nobody from the BBC had a conversation of that nature” with M.I.A..

M.I.A. told the crowd at her headline slot at the West Holts Stage that the BBC had “banned” her from their coverage due to a political message on her band and dancers’ T-shirts.

The many people on stage were dressed in white T-shirts with the slogan ‘Stop Tamil deportation’ written on them.


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“This is a political announcement,” she announced after the second track of the set. “The BBC have banned M.I.A at Glastonbury. It’s because of these T-shirts that say Stop Tamil Deportation. But we don’t give a fuck and you know why? We are going to do the best fucking show tonight and it ain’t gonna be on TV. I’m here, you’re here and that’s all we fucking care about. Hashtag freedom morherfucker.”

Despite this, it appears that the set was streamed by the broadcaster. BBC DJ Stuart Maconie tweeted: “Don’t know where M.I.A gets her info from but we fully intend to broadcast some of her set. And we’re streaming it.”

The BBC have not yet responded to a request for a comment.

M.I.A arrived on stage for her headline slot in the West Holts stage just before 10.30, accompanied by a the T-shirt-clad performers brandishing glowsticks, which were thrown into the crowd and lit up in colours mid-way through opening track ‘Bucky Gun’. Her set comprised of a mix of material from her four albums and was peppered with instrumental breakdowns and samples, including Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Walks’, and also included hits including ‘Born Free’, from her third album ‘Maya’, followed by ‘Galang’, which saw her leap down from the barriers into the crowd.

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