For years, M.I.A has been one of the most interesting acts in both electronic music and hip hop, with a more conscious and philosophically driven style than is seen in most mainstream music. Throughout her career, M.I.A has regularly used her creative platform as a way of spreading information and ideas about important things going on in the world.
Staying true to form, she has recently released a new single and video which calls attention to the global refugee crisis that has been created by the many years of war in the Middle East. The song is called “Borders” and the video shows masses of people climbing over barbed wire fences and sailing in tightly packed cargo ships, along with M.I.A, who is one of the refugees herself. This is not only symbolic, as she mentioned in a recent Twitter post that she is from a family of refugees who fled war and oppression in Sri Lanka.
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) November 27, 2015
Also true to form, M.I.A’s lyrics are more like poetry than they are direct speech, allowing plenty of room for interpretation. The main verse asks the question “Whats up with that?” after media buzzwords like “borders,” “politics,” or “power.” One verse is simply, “Politics / What’s up with that? / Police shots / What’s up with that? / Identities / What’s up with that? / Your privilege / What’s up with that? / Broke people / What’s up with that? / Boat people / What’s up with that?”
While the lyrics are poetic and thus not very description, the song is obviously a show of compassion for a group of people that really need it right now, in a time where there is so much hate and mistrust. Also, showing such raw and brutal imagery and associating it with the word “borders” makes a profound statement about the consequences of government borders.
“Borders” is from M.I.A.’s newest album, Matahdatah.
The full video for the track can be seen below:
This article (M.I.A Travels With Refugees In Her Powerful New Music Video “Borders”) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.