M.I.A. fires back against critics of her faith in Jesus: They would 'rather me be a bad girl'

M.I.A performs during the All My Friends Music Festival on August 19, 2018, in Los Angeles, California.
M.I.A performs during the All My Friends Music Festival on August 19, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Rap artist and singer M.I.A., who found Christ after having a life-altering vision of Jesus, took to social media on Wednesday to respond to criticism of her publicly professing faith in Jesus.

Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, also known as M.I.A., posted a tweet saying that critics would prefer for her to be more on the controversial side than talking about her faith in Christ. 

"The fact that the biggest backlash in my career and life I'm facing after saying 'Jesus is real' is such a revelation to me," the 47-year-old tweeted.

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"People who control these apps rather me be a bad girl, then a good one." 

M.I.A. detailed in previous interviews that in 2016, her life became radically changed after she experienced a visual encounter with Christ. 

The singer, who reached the height of her popularity with the release of her 2007 song "Paper Planes," stirred headlines in May after she recounted her vision of Christ in a conversation with Zane Lowe on Apple Music.

"Since then, my head has been in a totally different place. Being a Tamil and being a Hindu, I was very comfortable that I'd arrived finding myself. Which is, I think, going to be weird for America to process," she said. "But I had a vision and I saw the vision of Jesus Christ."

Born in London, M.I.A. moved back to her family's native Sri Lanka when she was a baby. Her father fought against Tamil oppression. The family later moved from Jaffra to Madras in India. 

At age 10, the family fled to London as refugees, where her mother discovered her Christian faith. M.I.A.'s father was an atheist.

M.I.A. told Relevant Magazine that though she always maintained an affinity for Hinduism, her mother's Christian faith did not interest her.

She told The Guardian in October that the vision of Jesus turned her viewpoints around and gave her an "existential crisis."

"In my time of need, the God that turned up to save me was not Shiva. It was Jesus," she told Relevant, naming one of the deities of Hinduism. 

"That is the truth, and I have to say that. The only clear thing I can say is that even when I had no belief in Jesus Christ and Christianity, and even when I was 100% comfortable in Hinduism, it was a Christian God that turned up to save me." 

After having a vision of Jesus, M.I.A. said her eyes became opened to "the truth."

The singer shared that the vision happened unexpectedly and at a time when she had no cell service. 

"I wasn't asleep," she said, describing the vision.

"It wasn't a dream. It wasn't a hallucination." 

M.I.A. said the visual encounter shocked her to the core because she had a hard time believing right away what was happening while it was occurring.  

"My first reaction was to laugh. … I just couldn't believe it was real. I didn't believe Jesus was real. I always thought He was made up, or not even made up, but I just always thought it was a silly story," she recounted. 

"I literally got saved in a very physical sense. And I think that's what it is. When you need saving, the person who turns up — no matter who you are and no matter what religion or no matter what status or what you are — if you are in need and you need saving, the person who turns out to save you is Jesus. That is what He's known for."

M.I.A released a new album titled MATA in October via her new label, Island Records. The singer said the record is influenced by her upbringing and her newfound faith. 

"I'm still me. That's still my language. And those are still my tools to be able to create beats like that or a sound like that," M.I.A detailed earlier this year.

"But, I think the message was just to get to a peaceful place. Watch the space. The history is, even if it costs me my career, I won't lie. I will tell the truth, and I will tell you what's on my mind and my heart."

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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