A documentary about Sri Lankan-British hip hop artist M.I.A. is — or perhaps the better word is “was” — in the works. The film’s director, M.I.A.’s longtime collaborator Steve Loveridge, uploaded the film’s trailer to YouTube, and posted it to his Tumblr yesterday. Since then, he got a cease-and-desist from IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) and an email from a rep at Roc Nation asking for an explanation of the leaked trailer, to which Loveridge responded, “Count me out. Would rather die than work on this…”
The trailer, which features interviews with Kanye West, Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine, director Spike Jonze and XL Recordings exec Richard Russell, charts M.I.A.’s rise to fame, discusses her father’s involvement with the Tamil Tigers, and praises her musical prowess.
It’s not completely clear where all the drama is coming from, but M.I.A. took to Twitter to say she had been “blacklisted” and said she’d need to head to Kickstarter to get it made. The letter sent to Loveridge from Roc Nation implied that there was some “legal stuff and funding” that needed to be resolved, but the letter also implies that the workflow and credits for the documentary may be up in the air and a point of contention.
Loveridge and M.I.A. have worked together on art for her albums, and have known each other since they went to school at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. When an art book of her work was published, Loveridge wrote the forward (available in full on his website), and in it, he explains their relationship, his admiration for her, and their combined penchant for provocation.