In a recently released music video, Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, known as M.I.A., highlights the plight of refugees who risk their lives to cross borders.

Freelance journalist Anupa Mistry considers how M.I.A.’s music feels like a “lifeline” at a time when people are being targeted worldwide for their beliefs or simply for the color of their skin.

From Pitchfork:

The [10 days after the Paris attacks saw] a rightful surge of empathy for and solidarity with Parisians on social media, but the story in my online and [real-life] conversations is about racialized Canadians (and Americans, and British) who are scared for friends, family, neighbors, and their own bodies. This is the other side of terrorism in the West. It’s something that M.I.A., a musician whose personal narrative is tainted by civil war, displacement, refugee status, and being brown post-9/11, obviously understands.

… [W]earily scrolling through the fear and self-righteousness in my Twitter feed, M.I.A.’s new song “Borders” popped up on my screen. I put on my headphones and clicked play. “Borders, what’s up with that?/ Identities, what’s up with that?/ The new world, what’s up with that?” She continues posing a long list of rhetorical questions (“Being bae, what’s up with that?”) over a chirruping sample and a dense bassline. … What starts out incisive turns existential, but that doesn’t make her stream-of-consciousness less concrete: we live in cities and states and countries and on the Internet, and our borders are closing in on us. Many of us are struggling on multiple fronts. If you hear her words as polemic, it seems crude. But if you’re asking yourself the same questions, it can feel like a lifeline. And just for a minute, I felt heard.

Read more.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata


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