Was MTV right to edit M.I.A.'s 'Paper Planes' video?

Yesterday, MTV premiered M.I.A’s "Paper Planes" video on TRL, but much to the chagrin of the British ragga ruffian, the network edited out her gunfire-filled chorus and references to bongs and anything else deemed inappropriate for the show’s tween fans. (Watch the unedited version below, and read M.I.A’s reaction on her MySpace blog here.)

It’s been so long since I watched TRL that I thought Carson Daly might still be wandering around the Times Square studio. (Okay, yeah, so he’s supposedly got a late-night talk show, but has anyone actually seen it?)  Seriously, though, while I’m glad M.I.A. is getting exposure with mainstream audiences—and rightfully so, seeing as her second album, Kala, has been on virtually every year-end, best-of list for 2007—there’s something depressing about MTV’s decision to censor one of the few socially relevant female acts on its lineup. I mean, if it’s okay for today’s youth to watch Christina, Britney, Lindsay, andParis writhing around on the floor, can’t they handle seeing  M.I.A. sellingsandwiches in Brooklyn and hearing a few gun shots in the background? Are you with me on this one, or do you think MTV was right to err on the side of caution?


Comments (41 total) Add your comment
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  • Maggs

    I guess its ok to show 50 cent and Justin Timberlake stalking women using technology, Britney Spears grinding on a stripper pole, and Paris Hilton destroying my ear drums but God forbid they show a female rapper making sandwiches while gun shots (not actual guns) can be heard as part of the chorus. Thank you MTV for once again showing how irrelevant you have become

  • Astro Boy

    MTV’s interests aren’t in educating the youth?! Youtube forever!

  • Zan.Bee

    What about the reworking of Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls. Suddenly “suicidal” is “in denial”…

  • JLI

    Any artist should give permission before someone else can cut their music. If MTV or another entity won’t air it the way it is, the artist should have the choice as to whether it will be cut or not air.

  • eliz.s.

    as if MTV is still relevant at all . . .

  • Fatima

    I’m not usually one that gets upset when underground music suddenly becomes popular, but I’m a little bit weary with M.I.A. because I’m guessing the average MTV watcher is not going to get her AT ALL. I’d almost like to pop into an average middle school and see what they’re saying about her, cause I’m betting it is negative. She’s so smart and out there that she’s going to confuse a lot of people and they’ll all be claiming she sucks.

  • AnthonyCW

    Well I don’t claim to know/get M.I.A., ’cause I don’t as of yet. I’ve blogged about how her music maybe just hasn’t hit me yet, and I don’t get everyone’s love for her right now.
    But ANYWAY, I don’t necessarily agree with the censorship, but just this year they censored Sean Kingston’s “Suicidal” chorus, and last year with Rihanna’s “Unfaithful” they took out the part where she sings about putting a gun to his head. I didn’t exactly get the censoring of either because the radio stations were split and most kids download the regular version regardless.

  • Aaron

    now THATS the paper planes i know and love. the mtv version is so dreadful.

  • Travis

    Any young tween that knows about good music, knows better than to watch MTV, anyway. The young ones are turning away from MTV real fast.

  • dala

    M.I.A. is amazing! this song is amazing. trl sucks balls..lets boycott that show!!!

  • Tim

    Will MTV actually air even edited videos at any time other than the Carson Daly kiddy show? Who cares? MTV doesn’t ‘break’ artists and hasn’t in a very long time. I love M.I.A., but she won’t last long on the Carson Daly show, surrounded by all that lowest common denominator pablum. Her music is far too colorful and interesting to sit comfortably next to the endless parade of weak rappers and over-singers featured on Carson’s show.

  • stephen

    I haven’t watched TRL in a while, but it’s pointless to edit a song. You can never hear it with those dumb corner pop-ups they have of some audince member screaming why they requested that song.

  • Lance

    MTV is completely irrelevant to the music industry. They are a total parody of themselves. Where they were once groundbreaking, they are so busy congratulating themselves for shoddy programming, they wouldn’t know a good music video if it smacked them upside the head.

  • DoctorJ

    Thankfully, the Internet has rendered MTV completely useless. If they want to wreck the best song on the best album of the year, I guess that’s their business, but I won’t watch.

  • Thad

    this is news?? who cares? MTV edits everyone and everything.

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