DOCUMENT: Celebrity

M.I.A. Tour Rider Offers Grist For Easily Offended

Backstage demands of the middle finger-flipping star


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M.I.A. 2011 Rider

FEBRUARY 7--Since M.I.A.’s middle finger flashing during the Super Bowl halftime show has enraged the Parents Television Council and other delicate football fans, the easily offended may also be perturbed by some aspects of the British-born singer’s most recent concert rider.

During a world tour that ended early last year, the performer (real name: Maya Arulpragasam) required the hiring of three female extras for each show. The women had to be between 20- and 25-years-old, with the same height and body type. They needed to have stage presence and be able to “groove to the music.”

Because, M.I.A. noted, the extras would be onstage with her for the entire show, grooving away while “wearing full covered Burkas.”

That’s right, the woman who gave 111 million Americans the finger during the country’s most holy day is a fan of the full-body cloak favored by many Muslim women. And, of course, you know what that means.

The 36-year-old performer’s organic-centric dressing room requirements include the provision of a “European” cheese and cracker tray. European would include cheeses from France (and, of course, you know what that means). Compounding matters, M.I.A. demanded a “small tray of hummus and pita bread” and Italian chocolates.

She washes this foreign food down with bottles of rum, vodka, tequila, white wine, red wine, and a six-pack of Heineken. M.I.A. also demanded that concert promoters provide a bottle of absinthe, the powerful spirits famously favored by Oscar Wilde, the Irish-born writer/poet/homosexual. (3 pages)