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Single mother, refugee, campaigner and controversialist: meet M.I.A
Richard Godwin meets Maya Arulpragasam, music’s most intriguing megastar, to talk London, lawsuits and the problem with #blacklivesmatter

RICHARD GODWIN Friday 22 April 2016

In the decade or so that she has been creating music as M.I.A. — euphoric, provocative, tacky-glam music that makes other pop stars sound hopelessly homogenised — the Anglo-Sri Lankan artist has revealed an equal talent for controversy. She has offered confusing accounts of her father’s role in the Tamil separatist movement, and has herself been accused of being a terrorist sympathiser by the Sri Lankan government (and politically naive by just about everyone else). She has been sued by the National Football League in the US for making a one-fingered gesture while sharing the stage with Madonna and Nicki Minaj at the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI. In her most recent video, ‘Borders’, she sang from a dinghy full of actors pretending to be dead refugees in a doctored Paris Saint-Germain shirt (it read Fly Pirates, rather than Fly Emirates), which didn’t go down all that well with the French football club’s lawyers.

doctored Paris Saint-Germain shirt (it read Fly Pirates, rather than Fly Emirates)の部分について語っている動画です。2012年にマドンナと出演したスーパーボールの演奏で中指を立てた人という認識しかなかったんですが、マッチョなスポーツの世界に対する居心地の悪さというのもあったようです。


A lot of M.I.A.’s frustration comes from the fact that she’s pretty much the only South Asian musician on the world stage. She has been accused of naivety in the past, but when she describes the refugee camps that she recently visited in Tamil Nadu, she is nuanced and knowledgeable. These problems are live for her. The Sri Lankan authorities no longer class her as a terrorist cheerleader but she doesn’t plan on returning any time soon. ‘They keep saying: “It’s all great now, come see for yourself!” But I have a kid, I don’t want to take that chance. The way Sri Lanka operates, you’ll get killed and the government will say: “Ah she went swimming, she was eaten by a shark, what can you do?” ’


She has recorded a new song, ‘Rewear It’, to encourage shoppers to recycle their old clothes at H&M stores during this week’s World Recycle Week, in exchange for shopping vouchers. ‘I’m brown. So the first thing people will say is that brown people make the clothes in the factory — what are you doing repping the other side and not addressing this?’ And what does she say to that? ‘OK, so with a mainstream brand, we know what it represents, we know what it means. It’s click-click-click, buy-buy-buy. We’re the max generation, maxed out, maximising on the, erm, max.’ And with H&M at the pinnacle of ‘fast fashion’, she feels it’s ‘brave’ of them to change their approach. ‘People will say that they’re greenwashing, and so on — but the fact that people can even make those comments and H&M will see those comments is a positive thing. ’


2016-04-08 - プレスリリース - サステイナビリティについて
H&M releases World Recycle Week 2016 campaign song and video ‘Rewear it’ featuring artist M.I.A.
The London based artist M.I.A. is the front figure of H&M'S initiative World Recycle Week, and is featured in a video inspiring customers to recycle their old or unwanted clothes. With her personal style, interest for sustainability and passion for the environment, M.I.A. personifies the conscious consumer with a social awareness.

During the campaign period, April 18-24, H&M aims to collect 1,000 tonnes of unwanted or worn out garments from customers worldwide in its more than 3,600 stores. The initiative is part of H&M’s goal to close the loop in fashion, recycling unwanted garments to create recycled textile fibers for new products. The H&M Garment Collecting initiative was initiated already 2013.

To raise awareness M.I.A. wrote the song ‘Rewear it’ exclusively for H&M and the World Recycle Week campaign. H&M has worked closely with choreographer Aaron Sillis to interpret M.I.A.’s music and lyrics into dance moves for the campaign’s video.

“World Recycle Week is about embracing important environmental issues such as the landfills, and highlighting a global movement”, says M.I.A.