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Friday, January 30, 2009

M.I.A. on Tavis Smiley: Genocide, The War on Terror and Social Change Though Music

also check out today's wall street journal for an amazing interview with her:

WSJ: You're nominated for an Oscar and a Grammy as the conflict in Sri Lanka is heating up, with accusations of very ugly behavior by both sides. Does that make for a bittersweet moment?

M.I.A.: I'm also nominated for a Brit Award in England. But for me nominations are not like a musical thing. It's more like me having a platform. The point of success is being able to tell a wider audience about the situation in Sri Lanka.

Your lyrics address issues like human trafficking and guerrilla warfare in a telling-it-like-it-is, almost amoral way that's similar to the way gangsta rap treated drug dealing and urban violence in the 1990s. Do you see a connection?

I've seen, with my own eyes, a lot of s- go down. I've seen people get massacred in front of me. My school was burned to the ground when I was 6 years old. When you come from that kind of background, you do become matter of fact, and tell it like it is.

What do you say to critics, like the Sri Lankan rapper Delon, who accuse you of glorifying terrorism?

If you think lyrics about guns are bad, I shouldn't have been shot at when I was 7 years old.

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