The fate of Syrian refugees has become a hot button issue both in the United States and abroad, and M.I.A. examines the challenges these refugees face both in their travels and once they reach their destination in her politically charged, beautifully photographed new video for “Borders.” In the video, directed by M.I.A., the artist hops aboard refugee-filled boats and climbs barbed wire fences with the migrants to highlight the strife they encounter as they attempt to flee tyranny. “Borders” will feature on M.I.A.’s upcoming LP Matahdatah.
In a Twitter statement, M.I.A. expressed why the plight of the refugees is a personal topic for her. “I want to dedicate this video to my uncle Bala, my icon and role model,” she wrote. “One of the first Tamil migrants to come to the U.K. in the 60s who went to inspire so many people as a creative, daring man with so much swag that everything I do doesn’t even touch his sides. Thank you for helping my family come to England and taking us out of Sri Lanka and saving us. Everything I became was to say thank you to you!”
M.I.A. previously said of her upcoming album, “The concept for this LP is ‘broader then a border’ and Matahdatah is the journal of Matangi. Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal.”