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M.I.S.S. In the Mix: M.I.A. “Born Free” Music Video!

M.I.A. releases the video from her upcoming third album for the Diplo produced "Born Free".

M.I.A. releases the video from her upcoming third album for the Diplo produced "Born Free".

Usually when we’re treated to a music video from M.I.A, we drool over the bold colors, ethno-psychedelic prints, dancing (both choreographed and chain-link inspired), and jumpsuits galore wrapped up in Maya K’s larger artistic meditations.

Her latest, while devoid of any dancing, is an artistic meditation unlike any we’ve seen from M.I.A.–or most people making music lately, for that matter. Directed by French auteur Romain Gavras, the video for the single “Born Free” from her upcoming third album is a graphic and violent commentary on the undisclosed and often disturbing nature of hot-button global issues including racial profiling, immigration, and military/police brutality.

Directed by Romain Gavras, "Born Free" is a violently graphic meditation on ethnic profiling, military agression, and the roots of terrorism.

Directed by Romain Gavras, "Born Free" is a violently graphic meditation on ethnic profiling, military aggression, and the roots of terrorism.

The nearly 9 minute video, which is pretty much a masterful short film, is shot verite-style and aims to capture the covert process of a nation’s (which in this video, happens to be the US) targeting of a minority” population. Paired with a pulsating, punk rock drum beat produced by longtime M.I.A. collaborator Diplo, the video depicts a gang of sinister military figures invading the homes of unsuspecting citizens, violating their civil liberties and physically brutalizing them, and later point blank assassinating the targeted minority–red headed males–one by one in the desert.

Always politically outspoken, the Sri Lankan born performer is famously publicized as a defender of the “terrorist” organization LTTE, better know as the Tamil Tigers.  It really is no great surprise that M.I.A.’s latest album addresses political issues, but what is surprising is the graphic, and shockingly accurate, nature of the violence in “Born Free”. With American values proliferating the rest of the world on such a grandiose scale thanks to the media, a majority of US citizens (particularly those of the right-wing sector) fail to realize that American isn’t always right.  And although it’s not the easiest pill to swallow, the singer’s representation of the American military force as aggressors of the most oppressive kind is a wake up slap-in-the-face for many in this country, who often forget that we aren’t always the great liberators that Fox News makes us out to be. M.I.A is making a statement, but with “Tik Tok” and “Party in the USA” among the other top female offerings circulating at the moment, I’m personally glad that someone’s decided to make music, and a healthy bit of controversy, for the thinking listener.

M.I.A.’s third, and as of now untitled, album is slated for release on June 29th off her label N.E.E.T, in association with XL and Interscope. View “Born Free” below, or on, and visit neetrecordings for a download link to “Born Free”.

Images courtesy of Dani and Feesh

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6 Responses to “M.I.S.S. In the Mix: M.I.A. “Born Free” Music Video!”

  1. Neeksie says:

    Thank you MISS for letting me know about this. I Love MIA!

  2. Maggie says:

    I thought this video was amazing for other reasons–It shows Americans the sort of fear created by occupation and being controlled by another country. American rights are definitely a privilege that many of us take for granted.

    We’ve never experienced the fear of invasion. For some countries attacks like 9/11 is par for the course. I finally understood that fear.

    One thing that bothered me, I thought the person blown up on the mine was just a needless part for shock, but the rest made sense.

    This is a huge change for MIA as far as visual art goes, and she really made her point. She’s done something more affecting than Lady GaGa (who is one of my favorites, btw) could have ever reached with the Bad Romance video, her own political statement, or what Erykah Badu did.

    Watch the news stations pass this one on by, because she’s not mainstream.

  3. La says:

    This song is a complete rip off of Suicide’s “Ghost Rider”. There was no “production” from Diplo unless he played the drums himself. And her demographic already knows to not take Fox News headlines as gospel. Her demo already knows about genocide being a bad thing. So…This video was clearly already made and she put her song behind it. Erykah Badu’s message was completely different than the “message” that was trying to be conveyed in this video. Why even draw comparisons? Maybe because attention whoring is in fashion for 2010.

  4. Gee Gee says:

    Hey La, thanks for commenting. I DO agree with you about Suicide’s Ghost Rider– Diplo and MIA’s production team VERY VERY VERY heavily sampled/straight up borrowed from the original. But, I don’t agree about the video. Romain Gavras has a history of making music videos of this sort for his clients. He made a similar verite style, graphic video for the French band Justice and their song “Stress”. To me, the beauty of a music video is that it can either directly reflect what a song’s primary expression is, or it can add a whole new layer of thought and expression to the song. So while videos like this, or Badu’s “Window Seat” don’t necessarily express the lyrics of the song, they’re great opportunities for artists to share their ideologies with their audience in an entertaining, thought provoking way that challenges multiple artistic mediums at one time. I guess I dig this video and what it’s doing, even if it doesn’t necessarily gel lyric-per-lyric with the song :)

  5. Gabriella GDK says:

    Whoa – heavy. So glad that there are some artists who use their mass appeal to spread consciousness and not just talk about getting drunk, high and laid.

  6. Jamaal Tory says:

    Hot blog! Glad I found something to ease my mind from the 9-5


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