Wednesday, 28 April 2010

MIA - Born Free

To a lot of British viewers, the controversial video to MIA's Born Free may resemble a Catherine Tate sketch gone wrong. It's not a tasteless joke at gingers' expense, though.

Ginger is being used to show how arbitrary hatred and violence is applied in violent regimes across the world. The clip is shocking not only because the gingers are obviously different to the white consensus of 'us', but so closely follow its definition. In the Venn diagram where one circle is labelled 'white' and the other....'other', gingers are placed in the overlap. This accessibility improves the video, because the west is saturated with images of suffering people. Suffering people with different skin colours in faraway lands. Would we have taken as much notice to this video had the gingers been replaced with, say, men with darker skin, hair and eyes and dishcloths on their heads? No, we would've thought it was ITV News.

In light of the obvious analogy, brusque US commentators have suggested that it's concerning recently-introduced laws in Arizona allowing the police to hold suspected terrorists indefinitely. This just shows how parochial some Americans can be. It only takes a little read through MIA's Twitter to realise that this video was definitely intended to represent the treatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka. I wouldn't have a clue of what's going on over there, as so much news of its Civil War is being censored. So, enjoy the song.

I think it's a banger. Masterminded by a whole bunch of Mad Decent, and banned by YouTube, it's getting more attention than Lady GaGa and Justin Bieber put together...

1 comment:

  1. I guess the leap to connect it to Arizona comes from showing the assault forces as American. Here's
    an interesting take
    although it omits to mention the notorious blue eyed/brown eyed exercise from 1968 which was one of the first experiments in this vein.