The incredible singer, songwriter M.I.A is nominated for Grammy’s, Oscars, Academy Awards, and is ready to pop! M.I.A may not have taken home the Grammy for her new hit single “Paper Planes” but the song, which is featured in this years big hit Slumdog Millionaire, will continue to be buzzed about. Both her revealing ensemble, her very pregnant belly and her controversial lyrics have been up for much debate.
After M.I.A’s fab performance alongside other CGG favorites like Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne at the Grammy’s this Sunday, a New York Times article came out concerned with her lyrics and their political implications. But the outspoken singer says she’s happy that her song is getting this attention, because it represents the struggles of Sri Lankan people.
“Being the only Tamil in western media, I have a really great opportunity to bring forward what is happening in Sri Lanka,” said M.I.A on an interview with Tavis Smiley before the Grammys, “Like my success just seems to parallel the situation in Sri Lanka…there is a genocide going on…and I am the only voice”
Sri Lanka, like Darfur, has an ongoing genocide that is being largely ignored by western media outlets and many people don’t even know where the country is. A small island off the coast of India, Sri Lanka has two main ethnicities: the Tamil minority, which had been systematically discriminated against by the ruling Sinhalese majority. M.I.A spent 10 years there until the war started and her family was forced to flee to England. Since then, there has been a systematic genocide of the Tamil peoples.
When asked about her hit “Paper Planes,” she told Tavis Smiley in the interview, “I think it was subversive for some people and it was too obvious for other people and everyone is constantly asking me what its about. They’re like ‘are you a terrorist?’ and its like ‘no’ that has nothing to do with it.”
She is afraid of the repercussions of associating her and all Tamil people with the terrorist groups like the Tamil Tigers. She doesn’t want her position as a Tamil civilian to be confused with the rebel forces because although her family is connected to them, the majority of the Tamil people are not.
She also thinks that her music is not restricted to the Sri Lankan situation. “It could be about gun corporations selling guns and making billions of dollars or it could be about immigration—immigrants coming over and being like the scary other that is going to take everyone’s jobs. I just want to leave it kind of ambiguous for my fans.”
What do you think about M.I.A’s performance at the Grammys? How about her polka-dotted outfit? Comment below!