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M.I.A. Bird Song

M.I.A says her photographer ‘invented Seapunk’ in 2010

The singer claims that a Tamil refugee, responsible for one of her photoshoots, may have ‘accidentally’ started the movement

M.I.A has claimed that the aquatic Tumblr subculture Seapunk was “accidentally invented” by one of her photographers in 2010. 

Writing on her Instagram, the “P.O.W.A” singer revealed that a photoshoot, taken around the time of her album MAYA, was the work of a “Tamil refugee wedding photographer” who “accidentally invented sea punk”. The movement, known for its aquatic-themed lo-fi aesthetic, was widely thought to have originated on Tumblr in 2011.

The post also included a quote from a profile written by New York Times journalist Lynn Hirschberg, who M.I.A refers to as “the wicked witch from NYT”. It seems that the rapper is annoyed that Hirschberg declined to mention the photographer’s work, erasing his contribution and his background.

“That writer never talked about this man’s story,” the rapper wrote. “He literally came from Vanni (when) the war ended, fled a rain of chemical bombs 2008 or 9, became a wedding photographer to survive, (and) had no idea who I was. He was as authentic as it got and she never mentioned that.”

M.I.A previously hit out at Hirschberg after her less than complimentary 2010 profile, angrily tweeting and posting the journalist’s phone number on Twitter. Hirschberg called the incident “unethical” and later responded by saying: “She's a provocateur, and provocateurs want to be provocative.”

M.I.A.’s new single “P.O.W.A.” is out now. You can watch the video here.