M.I.A. vs. Everybody: how female rap fights the world system
Matangi “Maya” Arulpragasam – a girl born in London in a family of Tamil activists, famous for her daring deeds and remarkable talent. Singer, producer, clipmaker, designer, artist, rapper, loving provocative punches on the topic of the day, and political activist. In addition to the memorable eclectic style of music, in which she combines the motifs of ethnic music of the peoples of the east, hip-hop, electronics, world-class beats and reggae with acute social implications, Maia created a memorable image of a principled and wise girl who is constantly struggling with a ruthless political machine and injustice. Unlike vulgar feminists, it does not jump over temples, does not behave provocatively and makes far from primitive music, its main goal is not to shock, but to awaken in the hearts of people around the world a response to current problems that many media and media figures just close their eyes. For her behavior, she was criticized more than once, more than once she was in the center of loud scandals and made sacrifices, whether money, views or performances in the United States. For this integrity, sincerity and courage and love her all over the world. Maybe her fan base can hardly be called the biggest, but with courage you can call it one of the most faithful in the whole world. In this article we remembered all the most important and loud conflicts of Maya and placed them in chronological order.
Summer 2004: Mia releases “Sunshowers” - the second single from her then-forthcoming debut album “Arular” – which accompanied her viral single-breakthrough “Galang”. In the pre-Youtube era, when the clips were much harder to watch, MTV banned the video for Sunshowers, directed by Rajesh Touchriver. As reported, the video was blocked due to the fact that the singer refused to cut two lines from the song “You wanna go? You wanna winna war? Like PLO, I don’t surrendo ”(“ Do you want to start? Do you want to win the war? As if the PLO, I will not give up ”). This was an early warning and a sign of how radical Mia’s music can be and how her views will cause widespread debate in the media.
Late 2004: The unofficial mixtape Mia and Diplo “Piracy Funds Terrorism”, recorded at the producer’s home studio, creates a lot of buzz and begins to gain momentum on the Internet. The discs with the album could not be sold legally, since the performer did not receive the rights to many samples, so the project was available for free download, and a CD with it could be heard at Mia’s early concerts. The mixtape has got a lot of choruses, verses and sketches from her debut album “Arular”, which has been postponed for a very long time by the label. Thus, one of the first big informational issues of Mai, which caused a resonance among the general public, was the fact that she herself had merged her album.
Early 2005: Discussion M.I.A. on the once popular I Love Music forum about her album “Arular” turns into a hot political debate. As later, Robert Christgau (comment Rhyme.ru – famous music critic and journalist) will tell in his article about the views of May that the conversation abruptly took a turn into a large-scale discussion of two Sri Lankans separated and quarreled with ethnic conflict.
Let us now turn to the key prehistory: in the nearly 25-year civil war that ended only in 2009, Tamils - a small people living in Sri Lanka – fought for the right to create an independent state. According to some estimates, more than 100 thousand people died because of the war. Maya’s father, Arul Pragasam, after whom her debut longplay was named, was actively involved in the Tamil conflict, and Maya grew up in the northern region of Sri Lanka, where Tamils mostly lived. Her father was one of the founders of the group, which was later overwhelmed by an organization that became known around the world as the Tigers of the Liberation of Tamil Ilam, a rebellious group that became one of the first terrorist organizations to send suicide bombers. In an interview with The Guardian, Matangi will later say that her father has never been a member of the Tigers: “People write this, because for them it’s all simple.”
At the same time, Miya began to play with these rumors and performances, using on the covers of the single “Galang” and the album “Arular” the symbols of “Tigers”, weapons and tank explosions. In the song “Pull Up the People,” she said, “I’ve got bombs to blow you up;” – in this sense, under the bombs, Maya meant her songs, which will cause a resonance). The way her political views, biography and art mix up will later become a key factor in her media war, which continues to this day. And she will repeatedly deny all the accusations against her about her connection and support for terrorism.
August 2007: Em Ay Ay tells in an interview (and repeats a few more times) that her temporary collaborator, Diplo, did not create “Arular” with her. She said: “I hate to hear that people think that I don’t have enough of my own ideas just because I am a woman.