Fueled by Personal Experience, MIA Makes Powerful Statement [VIDEO]
Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, known by her fans as M.I.A., was born in west London, but her family moved to Jaffna, Sri Lanka when she was six months old. Her childhood was defined by poverty and displacement due to the Sri Lankan Civil War. While her father worked as a political activist, her family had to remain in hiding until her mother finally fled with her children back to London where they were housed as refugees.
The pop star has tapped into personal experience while addressing one of the world's most pressing issues - the current refugee crisis - in a new single entitled "Borders". In response to the new song which came with a self-directed video, Washington Post pulled a poignant quote from an M.I.A. interview that took place over 10 years ago.
"Every bit of music out there that’s making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked."
As is pointed out, M.I.A. seems to be using the same strategy with "Borders." The song puts things in perspective as it questions politics, poverty, and immigration as well as materialism, superficiality, beliefs and values.
The simple structure of the song and its straightforward lyrics are meant to reveal just how disconnected we are from the refugee crisis as it forces us to think about our own priorities while showing us images of barbed wire fences and boats overflowing with innocent migrants fleeing their war-torn homelands in hopes of finding safety. The song and video evokes compassion amidst policies blocking refugees from entering certain countries.
Guns blow doors to the system
Yeah f*ck 'em when we say we're not with them
We're solid and we don't need to kick them
This is North, South, East and Western
"Borders" will appear on her upcoming album Matahdatah, which has been described as "truly global and characteristically DIY."