When she’s not busy stirring up controversy with writers for the New York Times, adding fuel to the fire that she is either a terrorist or backs terrorist organizations, or trying her hardest not to go into labor whilst performing during the Grammy’s M.I.A. is busy promoting her 3rd album MAYA, in stores now, and giving today’s pop stars a run for their money.
By now we’re all more than familiar with Maya Arulpragasam and her Sri Lankan, via London, roots that heavily affect both her music and fashion choices. She cites early 90s militant hip-hop groups such as Public Enemy as some of her greatest influences, and at some point long before she became M.I.A. she hung out with the legendary Tupac Shakur. While there is a wealth of information out there about everything from M.I.A.’s freedom fighting father to her interview to gain acceptance to Central St. Martin’s, the real truth of who she is and has become as a performer is best evidenced in her music.
While most pop stars stick with safe songs about first loves and wrap themselves in garments hand-picked by professional stylists, M.I.A.’s music defies the conventional categories and her lyrics touch on topics her fans living in the wealthiest nations in the world could never relate to. If the uninitiated find her music hard to define, her fashion choices, filled with a dizzying amount of hits and misses, must have them running for a dictionary of fashion terms. When she jumps around on stage brimming with energy dressed in a hodgepodge of 80s style track jackets, Brian Lichtenberg leggings, Cassette Playa tops, tribal prints, or her own designs (yes, she has a clothing line and we gave you a sneak peak back when it dropped), M.I.A. exudes a sense of showmanship that pumps up a crowd with or without millions of dollars of set design behind her. In an age of overproduced vocal talent and over worked fashion, her attitude towards the entire fame machine is refreshing, despite the fact that she may be a bit more provocative than necessary.
Her style is impressive, her little boy is adorable, and after driving 8 hours from Atlanta to New Orleans to see her at a secret Jazz Fest After Dark show in 2008 –weeks before she announced she was preggers and canceled the rest of her shows that year-I can safely say that I have the hugest girl crush on M.I.A. and it has nothing to do with her having a disco stick. It’s her honest, whether they are misinformed or not, lyrics and the way in which she approaches her personal styles, mixing decades and cultures that keeps her years ahead of the crowd and her face on the cover of everything from Complex to Nylon.
Layout by Sarah B
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