'Born Free' and the battle for free speech

Outspoken singer M.I.A. has discussed her contrasting emotions about the current state of the United States.

M.I.A. is an international figure. With her new album almost destined to enter the upper echelons of the charts, the singer combines underground dance styles with an instantly recognisable public persona.

Currently living in the United States, the singer enjoys the freedoms that the nation offers. Yet in the video to her track 'Born Free' M.I.A. uses the uniforms of the United States Army as those of the oppressors.

An allegory for racial oppression and the treatment of immigrants, the video exposed M.I.A.'s dual attitude to the United States. Speaking to ClashMusic, the singer explained her motivations on shooting the video.

"One of them being we shot the video there so we scouted real SWAT guys and army dudes that just got back from Afghanistan and we were getting the uniforms and stuff whilst people were saying, ‘Why are you doing this?’ But at that point it didn’t really matter."

"To me, it seemed like using America to tell that story was the easiest lowest common denominator way of doing it, because how much are you going to get across in nine minutes?"

Continuing, M.I.A. spoke about the battle to get the authorities to allow her mother into the United States. "The limiting factor right now is still my mum not being able to get into the US - my mum is seen as a threat to society in America. To me that’s really funny. Now I’ve just started taking the piss out of her. She doesn’t like it."

"She’s in London and it’s quite limiting because me and Ben can’t quite get married, cos my mum can’t come to America and his family can’t travel because his granddad is ill. It’s limiting because I feel weird every time I go to America."

Click HERE to read the entire interview!
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