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MIA says Jay-Z advised her to agree to “ridiculous” NFL settlement

By | Published on Thursday 29 March 2018


MIA has claimed that Jay-Z advised her to sign a settlement deal in her legal dispute with the NFL that would have pretty much involved giving up 100% of her earnings. She was sued by the American football organisation after raising her middle finger to the camera during Madonna’s Super Bowl half-time performance in 2012.

The claim comes from a new interview with Huck Magazine about upcoming documentary ‘Matangi/Maya/MIA’. The film, directed by Stephen Loveridge, covers MIA’s life story, from her discovery of hip hop when she moved to the UK as a child up to the present day. And, of course, that middle finger incident.

“[The hatred over the hand gesture] was from everybody and it just felt ridiculous”, she says. “When they hit me with the lawsuit it activated so many people to come after me on so many different levels. What’s in the film is a very tiny bit of what happened to me in real life. It’s quite entertaining for Steve to have made it into this nice little cookie but the reality of that was way worse. A lot of people I feel got off the hook”.

And that includes Jay-Z, she goes on: “I was at Roc Nation at the time and Jay-Z was managing me. The lawsuit was so ridiculous, it proposed that they would keep 100% of my earnings for the rest of my life if I ever earned more than $2 million. Jay-Z was, like, ‘you should sign that shit’ and I was, like, ‘no'”.

Even though the finger moment led to only a smattering of formal complaints from the Super Bowl’s 111.3 million viewers, the NFL pushed for compensation from the rapper through a process of arbitration, at one point asking for $16.6 million in damages. An undisclosed settlement was reached in 2014.

“A middle finger, it’s like get a fucking grip”, she continues. “People were like, ‘oh you’re lucky you’re not in jail, give up all your profit, be this slave for the rest of your life'”.

It’s at this point in the interview that she stops herself and says: “Oh god, I hope the NFL doesn’t sue me again for talking about it”. The article notes that a voice from another room then confirmed it’s not a topic she should be discussing.

“Oh, I’m not supposed to talk about it”, she says. “I’m going to eat crisps”.

Me too.