M.I.A.’s new video for her single “Born Free” was released Monday on her website. More of a short film, the 9:05 minute clip is directed by French director Romain Gavras. Thanks to Gavras known for his politically charged work with filmmaking collective Koutrajme, we can still view the video recently yanked by YouTube.

To put it plainly the video is necessary. A work so inflated with warfare, “others” and interrupted naked loving bodies, it’s a bit odd that for many of us it’s a breath of fresh air. We kind of miss provocative statements in the once raging against the anything machine now diluted with pop antics and sunglasses made of cigarettes. But “Born Free” is no easy watch–M.I.A doesn’t even appear in the short. Then again most artists over industry fakery opt for video absence. Unlike George Michael’s exploding jukeboxes in “Freedom,” “Born Free” displays bodies blown away at the call of USA military bombs–the narrative doesn’t call for celebrity appearances–not even the artist herself. “Born Free” is easily one of the most radical music videos in the past decade. A welcomed follow-up to Erykah Badu’s controversial “Window Seat.” We wouldn’t expect anything less from the Sri Lankan emcee. Let’s all hold our breath for more artists to follow suit.

I won’t get into the video’s cultural references or its brilliant play on the transnational police state. We encourage you to watch for yourself. What I will say is “Born Free” sends you. A strange paradox for today’s pop cultural spectator–rather than wondering who what wore, I’m thinking: my God, did he just blow that kid’s head off?

M.I.A.’s new album not yet titled is expected for release this year.

WARNING: video contains extreme graphic content

Your thoughts, please?

Photo Source: MTV News

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  • if anyone does a little research on the Palestine-Isreal conflict, the references might be a little more clear.

    • isolde

      not necessarily. If this were solely a commentary on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the red heads would have been wearing black checked keffeyiahs, not the red and white ones.

  • Akai

    Love M.I.A. She always makes me think.

    I suspect the “fake” and “hoochie” lines were aimed at Gaga, but I doubt the point of the video was to tell a story. M.I.A. is British and Europeans are not as uptight about nudity as Americans, but the naked behinds didn’t bother me nor did I find any of the violence gratuitous.

    I like how there appeared to be a black male as one of the paramilitary killers since a lot of people want to act like blacks can not be/are not prejudice when that’s a lie. But maybe the point was to simply put it dead in people’s face how absolutely gruesome and bloody prejudice and hate can be.

    M.I.A. is Tamil and knows what it’s like to be a refugee and at the mercy of a government raid. Maybe this video was a reference to the time a Sinhalese mob killed 3,000 Tamils in Sri Lanka 30 years ago; maybe she had Black July in mind as well as likening it to other bloody and gruesome events i.e. when Hutus took up machetes and killed 800,000 Tutsi men, women and children in Rwanda, Serbs in the former Yugoslavia took to wacking and raping Bozniaks and Croats, Semite attacks Semite and the IDF picks off innocent Palestinians and terrorists send a suicide bomber into Israel, or when Nazis sent 11 million Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, Gypsies etc. to their death.

    • Taylormay

      If people knew her background they wouldn’t think she was being to over the top. Killing anyone is over the top and uneccesary. If we as Americans had wars on our soil like other countries do then seeing someone being killed isn’t provacative- its real life. I thinks its funny how people can watch movies that have these elements in it and don’t become squemish.

  • This is so intense. It made my stomach turn. Wow.

  • Ty

    I needed a couple of minutes to just sit once the video was done. It’s one that leaves you shaking your head in disgust because you know that what’s being portrayed is reality for some. Kudos to M.I.A. (and other socially conscious artists) for being outspoken and unafraid to put REAL reality in their music/art, even when it’s hard to swallow. And one other thing, discrimination sucks… A LOT.