M.I.A. Drops ‘Borders’ Video Examining the Lives of Refugees

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

M.I.A’s New Single ‘Borders’ Is A Rallying Cry On Behalf Of Refugees Around The World.

The fate of Syrian refugees has become a hot button issue both in the United States and abroad, and M.I.A. examines the challenges these refugees face both in their travels and once they reach their destination in her politically charged, beautifully photographed new video for “Borders.” In the video, directed by M.I.A., the artist hops aboard refugee-filled boats and climbs barbed wire fences with the migrants to highlight the strife they encounter as they attempt to flee tyranny. “Borders” will feature on M.I.A.’s upcoming LP Matahdatah.M.I.A. has premiered her latest self-directed music video for the single “Borders” on Apple Music, and like most of the work by the British artist of Sri Lankan descent, it seeks to make a political statement.

She dedicated the self-directed “Borders” video to her Uncle Bala, who she described on social media as an “icon and role model” who helped her family escape from Sri Lankan to England. “Borders” will appear on M.I.A.’s upcoming fifth album Matahdatah. A compelling cry for compassion for refugees around the world, it comes a fortnight after the heartbreaking attack that saw Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists kill 130 people in Paris, a tragedy that has, understandably, prompted France to call for the suspension of open borders within Europe. In a Twitter statement, M.I.A. expressed why the plight of the refugees is a personal topic for her. “I want to dedicate this video to my uncle Bala, my icon and role model,” she wrote. “One of the first Tamil migrants to come to the U.K. in the 60s who went to inspire so many people as a creative, daring man with so much swag that everything I do doesn’t even touch his sides.

Refugees run in lines, climb fences and ride on boats in the background as the she sings, “What’s up with that?” about politics, identities, police shots and privilege. Filmed in Chennai, the video is the second part of her multipart series Matahdatah, which will eventually be a full-length album and film. “Both are part of a truly global and characteristically DIY M.I.A. project,” her label said in a release. Everything I became was to say thank you to you!” M.I.A. previously said of her upcoming album, “The concept for this LP is ‘broader then a border’ and Matahdatah is the journal of Matangi. Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal.” Following her defeat at UFC 193, Trump tweeted that he was glad to see Ronda Rousey lose her Bantamweight title, because she’s “not a nice person.” While other fight fans – like Lady Gaga – uttered similar sentiments, they were mostly upset that Rousey refused to touch gloves with Holly Holm before the fight.

Other scenes show individuals scaling massive fences topped with barbed wire, a reference to the series of securitised border fences erected by number of countries to keep out refugees. It’s every bit as immediate and insistent as her Clash-sampling 2007 breakthrough hit ‘Paper Planes’, with the hypnotic, dreamlike quality of ‘Bad Girls’, the best track from her 2011 mixtape Vicki Leekz. In Trump’s case, we suspect it had more to do with that time she told CNN “I wouldn’t vote for him…I don’t want a reality star running my country.” Regardless of his motivations, Trump’s take has angered one of Rousey’s UFC compatriots, Conor McGregor, and when TMZ cameras caught up with him at LAX, he let it be known that the GOP candidate should probably shut his mouth ASAP. “It’s easy for someone that’s not in there to comment, but it’s different when you’re in there. The track, which sonically fuses eastern and western styles, questions the fabric of modern society – politics, identities, privilege, “being bae”, “breaking the internet” and smartphones – before reducing the world down to its essentials: your values, your beliefs, your families, your power. Increasingly, you can’t properly discuss M.I.A’s singles without talking about their accompanying videos. ‘Bad Girls’, a song about female empowerment, was complemented by the sight of her drifting, a Saudi pastime in which cars are driven on their side; while 2010’s ‘Born Free’ addressed the arbitrariness of ethnic cleansing by depicting redheads being rounded up and shot.

The song itself juxtaposes these troubling images with the inanities and superficialities of online culture: “Being bae/What’s up with that?” and “Being lit/What’s up with that?” Towards the end, powerfully, the lyrics shift towards more fundamental issues of “values”, “beliefs”, “families” and “history.” In the end, only the hardest of hearts could fail to sympathise when M.I.A chastises those who’d seek self-preservation by shutting out refugees: “Fuck ‘em when we say we’re not with them.” McGregor probably wouldn’t set on U.S. soil ever again if that happened. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

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