We've Got Hollywood Covered

M.I.A. Slams ‘NYT’ in New Song

Grammy-nominated singer protests paper’s recent article hyping native Sri Lanka as top tourist destination despite violence

On Sunday, the New York Times published an article in its travel section naming Sri Lanka the world’s top vacation destination for 2010.

“For a quarter century, Sri Lanka seems to have been plagued by misfortune, including a brutal civil war between the Sinhalese-dominated government and a separatist Tamil group," the article said. "But the conflict finally ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors.”

This angered M.I.A., the Grammy-nominated singer and rapper, whose family is of Sri Lankan descent. (M.I.A., who was born in London, moved back to the island when she was 6 months old; her father was a political activist in support of that separatist Tamil group.)

M.I.A. fired off a series of Twitter posts (like her stage name, in all caps) slamming the Times for glossing over the violence that she claims still exists there.

“F— NEW YORK TIMES! DO YOU THINK YOU NEED TO GO HERE ON VACATION?” M.I.A. wrote — without the bleeps — linking to an uploaded photo of what appear to be dead and dismembered Sri Lankan children.

M.I.A. also linked to an article, published on the Time’s website last Thursday, entitled “Video of Sri Lankan Executions Appears Authentic, U.N. Says.”

In Sunday’s article, the Times pointed to the island’s “pristine coastline” and “miles of sugary white sand.”

“HERE IS THE LUSH COASTLINE THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT,” the rapper wrote, linking to a photo of slain children on a beach.

The flap might have ended there, but the anger apparently inspired M.I.A. to quickly record a song – “Space Odyssey” – and video in protest.

“The song and video were made Monday night for $100, after the New York Times, as she says: ‘f—ed up so hard,”’ M.I.A.’s publicist told the Fader. “She obviously finds it reckless and ignorant of the paper to not even scratch their own walls on what is reality in Sri Lanka.”

Here’s the song and video: