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.
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 www.miauk.com, and visit neetrecordings for a download link to “Born Free”.
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