I did read Abebe's piece on Pitchfork RE: the NYT/M.I.A. fracas, and it was indeed pretty good. Though the whole cloak metaphor was thoroughly ground into glue. And as much as I'd like "to not act like she's speaking for anything beyond her own messy self," such dubious hair-splitting lets people apologise for incredibly dangerous politics/artists/aesthetics. Let's replace "M.I.A." with "Burzum" and "militarized underclass" with "white-supremacist pagan theocracy" and see how quick people are to "swallow the music and spit out the cloak" - and whether or not embracing the medium while rejecting the message seems acceptable in the first place.
Besides, Maya Aruplragasam herself insists that her listeners don't make such distinctions. Pity for her fans that are busily crafting the narrative (as ventriloquised by Simon Reynolds):
"of course pop stars talk drivel about politics, of course they're all about empty gestures and sensationalism and pointless provocation. That's what makes it pop, what makes it good pop actually. It's pop music, what did you expect?"