Music

Literally the Best Thing Ever: M.I.A.

Let me count the reasons.

Over the past two weeks, I have tried and tried and tried to write this article. I have been trying to write this article since before I even knew I would be writing this article. I started to write about how when I was in college, I had one group of friends who were ARTISTS and another group who were ACTIVISTS, and the two didn’t mix at all. If you loved art, then you were frivolous and wild and funny and irreverent and provocative but in a way that was solely about the making and creating and consuming of art; and if you were an activist, you were serious and angry and you liked reading boring, constipated, jargon-y academic books about ISSUES like RACISM and SEXISM and QUEERNESS and OPPRESSION, and there was no time for the frivolous, superficial world of art; even though in my heart, I knew that the two had to go together, that it’s impossible to make meaningful art without being interested in the world beyond the one you know, and part of wanting more humanity in the world is deciding that art is meaningful and that all people should have the right to access and create it.

I tried to write about when I first heard of M.I.A.’s music. How I was in my last semester of college and reading about Operation Babylift, and I learned that many of the 4,000 children and infants who were “rescued” from Vietnam during the final days of the Vietnam War, were not, in fact, orphans at all, and that that meant entire families were separated under the guise of “humanitarian aid,” and that most of those families were very poor and lacked the resources to later track down their children who were now living as adoptees in America. How in the middle of reading about all that and feeling sick to my stomach because it was another example in a long history of white folks trying to “save” brown and yellow and black folks, my boyfriend at the time barged into my dorm room with a copy of M.I.A.’s first album, Arular, and he was like, “You’re gonna love her. She raps like a demented middle-school delinquent, and her father was a Tamil Tiger,” referring to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant separatist group that has fought for an independent state for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. That assertion turned out not to be true, although it was true that her father, Arular, left the family when M.I.A., or Maya Arulpragasam, was two months old to train with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and to later form the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students, a group that also fought for Tamil independence.

I tried to write about how it felt the time I had a dance party in my dorm room and I was playing Arular on my computer and at one point, I looked around and realized that most of my friends were people of color, and we were dancing to music by a radical woman of color. We were dancing to songs with lyrics like “Pull up the people, pull up the poor” and “Blindfolds under homemade lanterns / Somewhere in the Amazon / They’re holding me ransom.” And the sad truth was that M.I.A. was the first brown woman I had ever seen on television NOT in the context of some PBS documentary about global poverty or village life in war-torn Southeast Asia. When she started appearing on the cover of magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin, I realized that I had never seen a Southeast Asian woman on the cover of a major magazine that wasn’t National Geographic, that it was the first time I had seen a brown woman looking so PUNK and so FLY, like the kind of badass who flips you the middle finger just to say hi before embarrassing you in a dance-off. I can’t even tell you what it meant to me to FINALLY see a photo of a brown woman who wasn’t dressed in “native” or “indigenous” garb, talking about being a Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka and the brutal, systematic, state-sponsored violence waged against her people—in a mainstream magazine read by people like you and me who knew next to nothing about the struggle of the Tamil people because major news outlets were barely reporting about it. I can’t begin to explain how moved I was to see a refugee being the protagonist of her own story, refusing to be the object of a white, Western gaze, who insisted on being her own subject, whose visibility signaled a refusal to be mere background scenery, who sang catchy, weird, danceable songs about bombs and tanks and guerilla warfare and poverty and refugee camps and racial profiling and police and military brutality.

I have started and stopped and gone back and erased everything and started again because I want to get this right.

Because when I was growing up, I never thought that there would come a day when a radical woman of color would be making music that people loved, while advocating for the right of her people to take up an armed struggle for independence and self-determination. Because M.I.A. has always made it clear that she cares about politics, and not just politics, but the people who are impacted by politics, those whose lives are most affected by policies made by people who have the power to tell or silence the lives and histories of entire groups of people.

Because women and people of color have always been shamed for being too “emotional,” for daring to bring the personal into the political. Because the political is the personal. Because when you are a refugee who cannot go home because your own country is no longer safe to live in, how can you be any other way but emotional? When civil war has torn your country apart, when civilians in your country are taken hostage and killed in the crossfire, when you are the target of police brutality and racial profiling, when your very existence is criminalized and threatened because of your race or ethnicity or gender or sexuality, how can you take it any other way except personally?

Because I don’t think I was the only teenage girl or am the only adult woman who was and is afraid to speak out about my beliefs because people tell you that if you even try to do that, you’d better be prepared to spend all of your time fighting injustice and being the most educated, informed, serious person in the entire world, and you can NEVER EVER EVER care about superficial things. Because only people who are politically apathetic can get away with being superficial. We reward people for their political apathy or silence by not holding them up to the same impossibly high standards to which we hold people who might care about politics, even those who are just learning about them.

Because M.I.A. has always rejected all of that nonsense. Because she once said in an interview for Clash magazine, “Sometimes I repeat my story again and again because it’s interesting to see how many times it gets edited, and how much the right to tell your story doesn’t exist. People reckon that I need a political degree in order to go, ‘My school got bombed and I remember it ’cause I was 10 years old’… I think removing individual voices and not letting Tamil people just go ‘This happened to me’ is really dangerous.”

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69 Comments

  • oli_kanda October 15th, 2012 3:32 PM

    i adore this woman so much it’s not even healthy anymore:)

    she is just… BEYOND awesome

    so thank you so much for this article!
    it’s really beautifully written, and i love the fact that you are trying to present political activism as a sort of thing thats not just reserved for one group of people, or that you have to be this one certain way to be an activist.

    Jenny i love you for writing this <3

  • Flower October 15th, 2012 3:39 PM

    This post is amazing. i don’t understand people who just listen to music, it should be something you care so much about and which means so much to you, like this <3

    http://www.bobblyrainbowsocks.blogspot.com

  • Anna F. October 15th, 2012 3:44 PM

    LET’S ALL SHARE OUR FAVOURITE M.I.A. SONGS.

    This is the first one I heard, when I was in tenth grade, and it still gives me shivers every time I listen:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRYVcePrzNw

  • Samantha October 15th, 2012 3:46 PM

    I was literally trying to convince my boyfriend how awesome MIA was just yesterday. I have so much respect for her as both a musician and a person, I can’t wait to rub this article in his face.

  • ♡ reba ♡ October 15th, 2012 3:48 PM

    i always liked M.I.A. but this article made me realise that she’s not just an amazing artist, but an important person- which makes her music feel much much more important and amazing than it already did before i read this article. if that even makes any sense

  • GorillazFangirl October 15th, 2012 3:52 PM

    Gaaaah I love M.I.A. I was uber excited/couldn’t believe it when I saw this article was about her xD she’s shaped my character and made me proud to be me. This article was so good, focusing on her actual positive empowering presence in the world, glad other people view her like I do!

  • thelionheartedgirl October 15th, 2012 3:59 PM

    I LOVE M.I.A. She just makes me so happy whenever I listen to her.

    http://monologodeunarbol.blogspot.com/

  • Rose October 15th, 2012 4:02 PM

    JENNY, THIS RULES SO HARD

    • jenaimarley October 15th, 2012 4:23 PM

      Agree agree agree!
      I’m literally dancing to this article!

  • azultardis October 15th, 2012 4:04 PM

    gahh I love MIA so much, her lyrics and music, and her videos, she’s constantly questioning everything and making people question everything

  • Runaway October 15th, 2012 4:20 PM

    Oh my God, M.I.A.! I’ve been seriously in love with this woman since 2005. Thanks a lot for this piece. :)

  • raggedyanarchy October 15th, 2012 4:22 PM

    M.I.A. is great. I remember bus rides on field trips where my friends and I would just belt her music at the top of our lungs ’till the teachers would shush us and we’d just laugh. Ah, eighth grade.

  • ArianeMmmmm October 15th, 2012 4:26 PM

    I’m a bit older than the Rookie demographic but when I saw this article I had to read and comment.

    I’m an Asian female who immigrated to the U.S. as a child and grew up never seeing women like me: brown, punky, outspoken, and political. It wasn’t till college that I heard M.I.A., and as silly as it seems, I felt empowered about every facet of myself, so I got more politically involved and gained more confidence in myself. M.I.A. is my hero and I’m glad that brown teenage girls who feel unrepresented in the media sphere can find someone badass.

    Thank you for this article!

  • yael October 15th, 2012 4:45 PM

    Wanton activists like M.I.A do more harm than good by sponsoring bogus causes and terrorist groups. It seems amazing to me that the author would consider someone who joins the PLO an activist. You should know better, Rookie.

    One would have to be a moral contortionist in order to give credit or support causes like these.

    • ArianeMmmmm October 15th, 2012 5:14 PM

      PLO is no longer a terrorist group. They haven’t been for about 20 years (give or take). Israel, U.S., and the U.N. recognizes this, too.

      • Jenny October 15th, 2012 6:20 PM

        Here’s Amnesty International’s 2012 report on human rights in Sri Lanka: http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/sri-lanka/report-2012 And here is a Human Rights Watch report on the Sri Lankan government harassing and silencing independent journalists and media: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/03/sri-lanka-halt-harassment-media. It’s pretty grim. I don’t agree with you that wanting an end to the bloodshed and the killing/detaining/torturing/disappearing of Tamil civilians is a bogus cause. As for the PLO, I’m not going to argue with you about whether or not it’s a terrorist organization, but I would like to point out that nowhere in this article does it say M.I.A. supports the PLO.

    • Violet October 15th, 2012 5:57 PM

      Fighting for people’s right to life, identity and land – you call that a bogus cause?

      I give credit to such causes, and would rather call myself well-informed and trying hard to see the world from more than just the dominant, mass-media perspective.

      Thanks Jenny for this AMAZING article – timing is unbelievable, this week I was just watching every M.I.A. interview possible, she’s so brave and talented ! ! !

      Kudos,
      V.

  • wolnosc October 15th, 2012 4:54 PM

    I’m an artist and an activist. But I wish I could be less shy and more of an ACTivist.

    And also M. I. A. is awesome!

  • Indigoblue October 15th, 2012 5:09 PM

    Girl I know how you feel, I’m half Sri Lankan and half Scottish and everyone time I see a black woman on tv I am like yes you are more beautiful than you know!!

  • enthusiastictruckdriver October 15th, 2012 5:09 PM

    Not only M.I.A, but also this article, is literally the best thing ever. I have loved her since 6th grade and remain a faithful fan to this day, not only for her music, but also for her personality. I especially love the way you talk about political activism–I hate it when people automatically assume that just because I am not 18, or I like to paint my nails, or I listen to One Direction on Saturday night, I can’t have a valid opinion on politics or care about an important cause. I used to think that even mild evidence of selfishness or the concern for vapid trivialities immediately invalidated any traces philanthropy. Of course, that is not true–even the most selfless and philanthropic of people probably care about how they look or whether or not their nail polish matches their shoelaces.

  • Spotty October 15th, 2012 5:26 PM

    luv u MAYA!

  • fjords October 15th, 2012 5:32 PM

    Ahhh! I love her so much.

    Hopefully this article will mean even more people can discover her talent and intelligence.

    P.S Her VICKI LEEKX mixtape is the greatest, go listen!

  • AnaRuiz October 15th, 2012 5:44 PM

    Hi!! I created a Goodreads group for Rookie readers, especially to have like a “book club” specifically for the amazing books that are recommended on Goodreads. Another way to share with this lovely community of Rookie readers. You can find it at: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/81728-rookie-readers

    You’re all invited ;)

    anaruizwriting.blogspot.com

  • cac815 October 15th, 2012 5:48 PM

    I loved this article so much I just had to comment! I had listened to some of M.I.A.’s songs, but only when I watched the video for “Bad Girls” did I realize how awesome she was. I also love the part about political activism; just because I have strong opinions on certain issues doesn’t mean they consume my life or I can’t enjoy mindless entertainment and just have fun!

  • CeciliaCecilia October 15th, 2012 6:30 PM

    M.I.A is just…. WOW

    I LOVE HER SOSOSOSOSO MUCH!!!

  • lydiajamesxxx October 15th, 2012 7:03 PM

    While reading this paper planes came on the radio! haha coincidence :) I love her! This was a great article.

    tumbleweedandporcelain.blogspot.com

  • Chimdi October 15th, 2012 7:09 PM

    :) :) :)

  • llamalina October 15th, 2012 7:17 PM

    THIS. THIS ARTICLE. THIS. IS. PERFECT.

  • Tyknos93 October 15th, 2012 7:38 PM

    Time & Place: 6th grade, returning home from exhausting day at school. See dad at turntables nodding head along to one of his latest record store purchases.

    me: Dad what’d you buy?
    Dad: This album (picks up Arular) by some girl named MIA (pronounces it mee-ah) and several other insignificant albums.
    me: can I hear?

    **I nod my head along in silence, wondering what is even happening at the moment. Is it reggaeton, is she rapping? Now is she singing? bollywood samples!? Then Bucky Done Gun played…

    me:This is that girl from the video I saw! The one jumping fences and dancing all crazy.
    Dad: Oh really? It’s not my kind I thing…
    me: **thumbing through the INSANE album art** oh…can I have it?
    Dad: uhh no.
    me: *steals it anyway. It rests in my closest for the next three years being played at intense volumes whenever my parents are out*

    In 9th grade i saved up every article I could find on this woman and stuffed them in a shoebox while waiting in anticipation for her album, Kala. It was my first purchase with all of my Christmas money.

    I have never seen her in concert because I was too young/she didn’t come to my city/or it was too expensive. This fact plagues me every time I listen to her music or interviews.

    She’s just awesome and this post is so lame and all over the place, but GAH it’s so great you featured her!

    • sophiew October 15th, 2012 9:40 PM

      we were living parallel jr high m.i.a. obsessive lives !

    • Jenny October 15th, 2012 10:04 PM

      OMG, this is so cute! Especially the part where your dad pronounces M.I.A. mee-ah. I’m crying!

  • Hannah L October 15th, 2012 7:47 PM

    When I was in fourth grade, my dad bought an M.I.A cd on amazon because he heard good reviews of it, and I have been in love ever since.

    • Jenny October 15th, 2012 10:05 PM

      I LOVE that so many Rookies first heard of M.I.A. via their DADS!! COOL TEENZ HAVE COOL DADZ.

  • mmorsmordree October 15th, 2012 8:01 PM

    I was wondering if this was ever going to happen and It has! I always listen to M.I.A In the wintertime her and some other bands that remind me of the sweet warm summer. Loved this article. I hope someday we will get to see more and more brown people in the media. Not just music but in movies and tv shows.

  • sophiew October 15th, 2012 8:51 PM

    she was such a big part of my growing up, and sometimes i still salt and pepper my mango

  • caro nation October 15th, 2012 10:03 PM

    I IDOLIZED M.I.A. when I started middle school. She was not only my gateway drug to hip hop, but was the reason for my first encounter with racial discourse.

    Someone made a remark that my being white and enjoying overtly political hip hop was insulting to the artists, that my rapping along to “Paper Planes” was silly and I, as a white female teenager, could not possibly feel a connection to this beautiful and belligerent woman who utilized her talent as a means to express her beliefs because I was too dumb, too privileged, and too dismissive in my joyfully singing “Born Free” on the bus.
    “You just look stupid singing it because you don’t know what she’s talking about. She didn’t make that song for people like you.”

    OK NUMBER ONE this GUY was WHITE ALSO, one of those mall gangsters who claimed to have experienced the struggles of the ACTUAL students who came from rough neighborhoods and who experienced racism on a daily basis the minute he donned a bandana.
    NUMBER TWO he contradicted himself. He exercised sexism and just plain ignorance in his criticism, thinking that his sex and his adoption of commercialized “gangsta culture” granted him NOT ONLY the right to chastise me, but to CLAIM TO HAVE FACED THE ADVERSITY DESCRIBED BY POLITICAL RAPPERS SIMPLY BY LETTING HIS PANTS SAG
    What he didn’t realize was that M.I.A. was more than his patronizing denial of his own privilege. M.I.A. had struggled, and she was telling the world, calling us to action. By listening to M.I.A., I wasn’t trivializing her message by being white, I was furthering her cause. I was listening.
    Fin

    • Jenny October 16th, 2012 5:18 PM

      AMEN, GIRL! FIN FIN FIN.

  • Maya October 15th, 2012 10:30 PM

    M.I.A. is such an inspiration to me and really shaped who I am today. Looveee her

  • Whittier October 15th, 2012 11:29 PM

    Thanks for this! I really appreciate how well you’ve thought this out. I love MIA and this article articulates exactly why.

  • dearmia October 16th, 2012 12:08 AM

    When the video for Bad Girls came out, I was almost in tears. Seeing those bad ass bitches tear it up made me SO PROUD! <3 I love MIA

  • cicconeyouth October 16th, 2012 1:11 AM

    M.I.A. is a badass, through and through.

    She was the opener for Gwen Stefani’s first solo tour, which made me so excited. A lot of people didn’t “get” her and kept booing, but she kept on truckin’, was really great. Obviously didn’t care about the haters. SO COOL. She’s won my loyalty for life.

  • MichyMich October 16th, 2012 1:27 AM

    Jenny, thank you for writing about M.I.A. I am disappointed that the media likes to make M.I.A. out to be the type of person who likes to stir shit up for attention and I feel that she has been misunderstood. When I first heard her music, I didn’t get a single thing she was singing along until I Googled up the lyrics. Her lyrics are very political and I love how she is making music to promote her beliefs. The same thing goes on in her music videos. I just love how she’s very-thought provoking with her music – it leaves me thinking all the time.

    It’s not just her music I adore. It’s her fashion sense. I don’t know WHO in the world would wear a printed burqa (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/18/mia-burqa-scream-2010_n_766131.html#s159039) and I felt that it should’ve been mentioned in this article. Honestly, pop stars don’t need to dress so sexy or weird to get publicity – it just screams “try-hard”. It also makes me feel like it’s fake or forced upon. Only M.I.A. can pull off that burqa. Her fashion sense feels so real and I wish that I have the fashion sense to pull off unconventional silhouettes and all-over mixed prints.

    I would LOVE to meet M.I.A.

  • sarahisoverthere October 16th, 2012 2:08 AM

    LOVE this article! MIA is such a BAMF.

    I really feel for this entire article; I love finally seeing a WOC just doing her thing instead of having to be a perfect, white-washed poster child for the poor little minorities.

    This paragraph especially hit it home too:
    “Because I don’t think I was the only teenage girl or am the only adult woman who was and is afraid to speak out about my beliefs because people tell you that if you even try to do that, you’d better be prepared to spend all of your time fighting injustice and being the most educated, informed, serious person in the entire world, and you can NEVER EVER EVER care about superficial things. Because only people who are politically apathetic can get away with being superficial. We reward people for their political apathy or silence by not holding them up to the same impossibly high standards to which we hold people who might care about politics, even those who are just learning about them.”

    Thank you Jenny.

  • SpencerBowie October 16th, 2012 2:21 AM

    She is punk + every hop, (hip and otherwise), and she rules with art, intellect and wit. Her beats are amazing. Her style is too much and just right. She is 2007 to me.

    I’ve made friends because of ‘Kala’.

    She is M.I.A.

    She’s organic.

    <3

    P.S: You know rookie, it's not fair how y'all get in my mind like y'all do without a little warning first!!! ;) Kiss!

  • meels October 16th, 2012 3:17 AM

    Oh my gaaaad I love M.I.A!!! My sisters good friend is her cousin

  • Majel October 16th, 2012 5:32 AM

    This is the best “literally the best thing ever” article I’ve read so far.
    Thank you for making me more aware of her and thanks for your statements.
    I get the feeling a lot of people just se her as another popstar, if they don’t listen to the lyrics properly, which is apparently possible.

  • Tasya October 16th, 2012 8:06 AM

    YES. thank you for writing this article!! i’ve always loved MIA and after reading this i LOVE her even more. never realised how much of a freaking bamf she is!! go maya!!

  • gnarlyelixir October 16th, 2012 10:34 AM

    PERRRFFF POST. I remember seeing her perform live with jayz and knowing that she was perfoming on her FREAKING DUE DATE!!!!!!! OWOWOOWOWOWOWOWOWOW

  • Maggie October 16th, 2012 12:51 PM

    M.I.A. seems so smart and for real, and Jenny, I think the way your wrote about her was likewise smart and for real. I hope more girls are inspired by this than by whatever dumb stunt Madonna is sure to pull next.

    • Jenny October 16th, 2012 5:18 PM

      Haha, this made me laugh! I’ve never been interested in Madonna and her particular brand of antics, or ‘stunts’ as you so sweetly and grandfatherly put it! ♥ ❤

  • Ben October 17th, 2012 12:07 AM

    OMG! i love M.I.A!!!

  • joenjwang October 17th, 2012 2:02 AM

    PBS has content that features brown women in contexts outside of documentaries of poverty. Just in their defense (hee). I would have to say, PBS has a lot of content that features, fairly, real people in anything……………………….I just love PBS, yo. asdfasf

  • swaggyeb October 17th, 2012 2:11 PM

    ✰♀ I’M SO TOTALLY DANCING TO M.I.A ♀✰

  • Ree October 18th, 2012 1:45 PM

    I agree with every single thing in this article.
    MIA is a revolutionary.

  • FiveDimesForNineLives October 18th, 2012 8:22 PM

    I love M.I.A she has amazing style and performed pregnant on stage. She’s beast!

    http://five-dimes-for-9-lives.blogspot.com/

  • shiyana October 23rd, 2012 1:50 AM

    I do love M.I.A. for her beats and her activism through art/music. I do want to point out to everyone on here that isn’t as informed about the 30 year civil war that ended not too long ago in Sri Lanka that one thing I can’t stand M.I.A. and her fans for doing is simplifying such a complex civil war that has so many different levels that has not been examined by M.I.A.’s lyrics. None of her lyrics point out the fact that the LTTE mastered the suicide bomb (first to use women in suicide bombing missions, well-versed in training child soldiers, etc.) and are considered an internationally known terrorist group.
    Just pointing out that we can’t be so ready to get on board to everything these artists put out there, we need to question everything. I’m happy that she’s moving on to OTHER important issues in her newer albums though that deserve just as much attention.

  • Anita N. October 31st, 2012 8:57 PM

    Wonderfully, beautifully written, thank you so much. She’s an incredibly brave artist, and I think you’ve articulated the reasons why better than anyone else :)

  • Snow November 3rd, 2012 2:38 AM

    Jenny,

    You do realize that you basically describe your artist friends with a million positive signifiers (being irreverent, funny) while painting activists (and sociologists?) as militant, righteous and indignant people who read “constipated” books. I have a hard time believing you weren’t making a dig when you wrote this. I mean, how else can this be read?

    Artists: “…frivolous and wild and funny and irreverent…”

    Activists: “serious and angry… [like] reading boring, constipated, jargon-y academic books…”

    And you say you were friends with both groups?

    Makes me sad. I’m going to study Sociology next semester. I’m really passionate and happy about it. At least I was.

    • Jenny November 6th, 2012 6:26 AM

      Hey yeah, I see what you mean, but I’m actually criticizing both sets of stereotypes, not enforcing them. I’m saying there is no reason why you cannot be an activist who is frivolous and wild and irreverent, just as there’s no reason why you cannot be an artist who is serious and angry. The line that was drawn in the sand between “activist” and “artist” has always seemed like an artificial, imposed one to me. Does that make sense? It’s not a dig at activists, it’s a plea for people to realize that activism can and should and already does (e.g. in the case of M.I.A.’s activism) include imagination and other beautiful, wonderful, fun, joyful things. And please do get excited about studying sociology! I took a ton of sociology classes in college and loved them. <3

  • Jenny November 6th, 2012 6:26 AM

    Hey yeah, I see what you mean, but I’m actually criticizing both sets of stereotypes, not enforcing them. I’m saying there is no reason why you cannot be an activist who is frivolous and wild and irreverent, just as there’s no reason why you cannot be an artist who is serious and angry. The line that was drawn in the sand between “activist” and “artist” has always seemed like an artificial, imposed one to me. Does that make sense? It’s not a dig at activists, it’s a plea for people to realize that activism can and should and already does (e.g. in the case of M.I.A.’s activism) include imagination and other beautiful, wonderful, fun, joyful things. And please do get excited about studying sociology! I took a ton of sociology classes in college and loved them. <3

    • Jenny November 6th, 2012 6:27 AM

      gah! double reply! blerg

  • Jaitan November 16th, 2012 6:59 AM

    Hi Jenny! I just want to tell you how much this text inspired me. I am from Spain (so forgive my grammar mistakes) and right now we are not in our best moment, not only economically but socially. I know it’s not even close to the Tamil independence, but here in Catalonia we’re fighting really hard and the whole country (Catalonia and the rest of Spain) is living a huge police brutality only by going to a demonstration. But the thing is, I’ve listened to M.I.A. since I was a teenager and even though I tried to translate the lyrics they never had so much sense to me than now. And you just have summarized everything I feel when I listen to her while running away from the riot police. I guess we all have our own battles, and it is important to share with all the world what we stand for. That make us strong. Keep up the good job, and how Maya says: Fight on! :)

  • jackybella December 6th, 2012 4:51 PM

    Thanks for writing this article. To me the best thing about M.I.A. are that she is an incredible musician, as well as someone who is willing to (and smart enough to) speak up and say something about things that she is passionate about!

    Plus the ‘Bad Girls’ Music Video is one of the best I have seen in a long time.

  • ailiebae February 12th, 2013 12:20 AM

    OK THANKYOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am so happy I found rookie because it basically sums up my life.
    I have plenty of good friends but no one really understands me because I’m just that weird indie girl.
    This article is so true!! M.I.A. is a brilliant artist. I own all of her albums including the remixes and her book.
    Her art, her story, and her music are beautiful and no one can top it.
    This article makes me so happy because now I knowthere are other teens like me that adore her as much as I do!!!!
    Thanksssssssssssss!! ;) ;)