I recently watched M.I.A’s new video for “Bad Girls” with a friend who, despite quite liking the song, railed against the video’s imagery and the singer’s dubious politics. He finds her propensity to align herself with outsiders problematic and maybe a little disingenuous— like hipsters wearing Che Guevara t-shirts.
Then another friend mentioned that the “Bad Girls” video reminded him of the clip for Tori Amos’s 1994 single “Past the Mission.”
In Amos’s video, she leads the entire female population of a small Spanish village into the surrounding fields, where they face off against the patriarchal authority embodied by a young priest.
In “Bad Girls,” directed by Romain Gavras, M.I.A. presides over a Middle Eastern drag race with Muslim women in vividly patterned burkas speeding down dusty roads as the menfolk look on, glowering. It’s powerful imagery, especially considering that
in many Middle Eastern countries Saudi Arabia women are prohibited from driving at all. But is it original, an homage or just plagiarizing the original?
Check the videos below and compare:
NEXT: ’90s pop princesses Brandy and Monica are back together again!