Biography of M.I.A.

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M.I.A. Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam slinks onto the stage. The crowd is chanting her stage name in fire-fight frenzy; the letters M-I-A reverberate throughout the dense mass of people. She lets out a howl through her full glistening lips. She’s wearing African-themed sequin tights with a matching hoodie, her coffee-colored face covered by sunglasses and tufts of auburn hair. In just a few short years, the London born, Sri Lankan bred MC has come a long way, from making mix-tapes with a friends drum machine and cheap microphone, to playing beyond sold out shows. Images of brightly colored tanks and huge graffiti tigers blaze in the background behind her as she raps: “Take me on your genocide tour/ Take me on a truck to Darfour” on one of her singles “Jimmy,” a song that samples a Bollywood song she used to hear as a child (Pitlyk). Some of the crowd may be unaware of the message sneaking in behind the intricate fusion of techno beats and Congo drums, but they don’t care as long as the heavy bass kick continues to flood their bodies. M.I.A. is sending a message to the world with Dance music. Through her political lyrics, spit-fire attitude and intricate musical style, she is the most resonant voice of this generation. In an era where pop music fluff and “gangsta rap” is dominating the music scene, M.I.A. breaks the mold while simultaneously breaking many cultural barriers. M.I.A. was born in London to Arul Pragasam and his wife, Kala, who are of Hindu and Sri Lankan Tamil descent. When M.I.A. was six months old, her parents and two siblings moved to a Tamil town in northern Sri Lanka. Her childhood was stricken by poverty and strife mainly caused by the Sri Lankan civil war. Her father, an activist for the Tamil people, was rarely in Maya’s life (Mangla). Maya moved frequently as her father avoided arrest from the Sri Lankan government. “By the time I was ten, I

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