Behind the Video: M.I.A.- ‘Bad Girls’

M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” video earned praise from everyone from Rihanna to Tyler, the Creator upon its release last month. Now the pop rebel takes us behind the scenes of the brilliant clip, shot in Ouarzazate, Morocco. Director Romain Gavras drew inspiration for the high-speed scenes by watching YouTube videos of Saudis drifting on two wheels.

“Maya and I have had this video concept in mind for a while since we’ve worked on ‘Born Free,'” said Gavras. “We stumbled upon these videos on YouTube. We were mesmerized.”

M.I.A. added, “It was like the coolest shit I had ever seen.”

“The idea was to compile Arabic references—fantasized or not—into a pop video,” explained Gavras. “Pop videos usually show American kids in their element. Here you got Arab kids in an insane car rodeo element.”

The documentary-style clip includes commentary from the stunt car drivers, crew, and local residents who were on set.

Gavras acknowledges that it will be hard to top himself. “It will be hard to make something as grandiose as this. Next video needs to be shot on the moon.”