M.I.A. Follows Refugees On Journey in Striking Video for ‘Borders’


Last week, M.I.A. released “Borders,” a rallying cry for the current refugee crisis. Today, she shared the song’s self-directed video, which shows the singer accompanying refugees as they scale barbed-wire fences, pack themselves on crowded boats and wade through the ocean during their journey.

M.I.A., aka Maya Arulpragasam, has been vocal about the crisis on Twitter, bringing up the fact that Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian refugee in a tweet from September. “The world I talked about ten years ago is still the same. that’s why it’s hard for me to say it again on a new LP,” she says in a more recent tweet.

In the song, M.I.A. asks questions referring to today’s social issues: “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?”

She then follows up with lyrics referencing Internet slang and Kim Kardashian — a stark contrast to the previous set: “Killing it/ What’s up with that? / Slaying it/ What’s up with that? / Your goals / What’s up with that? / Being bae / What’s up with that? / Breaking internet / What’s up with that?”

Stereogum pointed out M.I.A.’s jersey, which reads “Fly Pirates,” but written in the logo for luxury airline, Emirates.

M.I.A. wades through water in one scene as a boat filled with refugees is seen in the background.

In July, she released “Matadatah Scroll 01 Broader than a Border,” a six-minute video which featured two songs, “Warriors” and “Swords,” from the upcoming album Matahdatah. “It’s like a journal,” she told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year. “And the journal happens to be a really wide journey. It’s about borders and it’s kind of testing the human idea of that — whether it’s physical borders, geographical or philosophical ones.”

A date for Matahdatah has not yet been announced.

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Images via screenshot.

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