In May, London-based Hip Hop artist M.I.A. revealed that she was denied a visa to come work with American music producers on her next album. News reports indicate that the Sri Lankan-born artist was excluded because government officials concluded that some of her lyrics are overly sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Here is some background on MIA:
Level 2 is a bit thornier. Arular's lyrics don't seem to mean much, but they're catchy as all hell: "Blaze to blaze, galang-a-lang-a-lang-a/Purple haze, galang-a-lang-a-lang," she sings on "Galang," her debut single from last year. You notice a few other catchphrases, too, like "freedom fighter," "Pull up the people/Pull up the poor," and "I got the bombs to make you blow/I got the beats to make you bang." Whatever—none of this means much, in and of itself. Intrigued, you go to her incredibly psychedelic Web site (www.miauk.com) and wait for a Flash animation to load. The graphic shown on the screen while you wait is a cute cartoon image of bundled sticks of dynamite, ready to explode. You read her bio and see that she had a rough childhood; she lived in war-torn Sri Lanka as a kid, and her father wasn't around much. He was in the Tamil Tigers, where his nickname was "Arular"—the title of M.I.A.'s album. You don't know much about the Tamil Tigers, besides the fact that they don't seem to be a baseball team, and read on. It looks like she moved to the U.K. with her mother as a refugee a little over 15 years ago. Since then, she's turned her life around, graduating from a top British art school and making a name for herself by playing with loaded images, tearing them out of context and throwing them onto canvases: bright, Warhol-esque screen prints of war and strife, from guns and bombs to tigers.
So is MIA a threat to state security? Somehow, I don't think so.
As far as idealogical slants go, rock n' roll, hiphop, and just about every other form of popular music has been a dangerous threat to the state at one point or another. Not to go into one of those arguments that contains the phrase "slippery slope", but common people.. [ waves his hand ] These are not the threats to the state you are looking for...
Ladies and Gentlemen, just because we killed Mother Russia in the 80's doesn't mean we have to take her place in the uh-oh's...
Musical Threats to The State | Will the Jedi Mind Trick work?