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MIA is standing up for the rights of gingers everywhere. But the man keeps holding her down.
The Sri Lankan-born singer lashed out at her label, Universal Music Group, after her violent, genocide-themed music video "Born Free" was yanked from YouTube just hours after its release on Monday.
"F--- UMG WHO WON'T SHOW IT ON YOUTUBE! FOR THE U.S.," M.I.A. tweeted.
But the artist, whose real name is Mathangi Arulpragasam, quickly reversed herself, clarifying that "OK, NOT UMG FAULT!"
Turns out the "Born Free" clip was clipped by YouTube itself.
Directed by Romain Gavras—son of legendary filmmaker Costa-Gavras (Z, Missing)—the clip portrays the U.S. as a fascist police state, focusing on a S.W.A.T. unit's raid of a downtown Los Angeles apartment complex.
The riot-geared cops start rounding up redheaded men, then bus them out to the desert and execute them in gory ways (a boy is shot point-blank in the head, another is blown apart by a bomb). M.I.A. has never shied away from controversy, frequently coming under fire for her views.
But it was the brutality, not the politics, that got YouTube's attention, according to the powers that be.
M.I.A. recently told Britain's Radio 1 that "Born Free" "was the first recorded for the album" and "at the time, a lot of things were bottled up. It was a good start."
No doubt it got everybody's attention.
While the video is MIA from YouTube, it's still streaming on her official U.K. website. Meanwhile, she took to Pitchfork's Twitter and unveiled the track listing for the still-untitled new album, due in June:
- "The Message"
- "Born Free"
- "Meds and Feds"
- "It Is What It Is"
- "Tell Me Why"
- "Story Told"
(Originally published April 27, 2010, at 8:31 a.m. PT)
M.I.A. has always been outspoken. E! Online takes a look at her politically charged views here.