Julian Assange Opened M.I.A.'s Matangi Tour, Obviously

M.I.A. kicked off the tour for her new album, Matangi, this weekend in perhaps the most M.I.A. way possible. No, she didn't invite a dozen Saudi women to drift and doughnut on stage. Nor did she orchestrate a ginger genocide like her "Born Free" video. Instead, she welcomed fans at New York City's Terminal 5 with a live address by one of the world's most infamous activists: Julian Assange. Edward Snowden probably couldn't make it.
Not that Assange was physically present himself. He Skyped in for 10 minutes from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he is currently in exile. The WikiLeaks founder told the assembled crowd, "I have become a fan of M.I.A. because I think she is the most courageous woman working in Western music, without exception." He then went on to discuss the ongoing NSA spying scandal and the need for press freedom. Here's his whole spiel:
Rolling Stone points out that this is not the first time Assange and Arulpragasam have collaborated. She created music for his TV show, The World Tomorrow, and named her 2011 mixtape Vicki Leekx after WikiLeaks. And, according to the Guardian, Assange even helped compose one of the tracks on Matangi. Is there a more revolutionary team in music today? (Rolling Stone)

More from New York


R29 Original Series