What an impact she’s made, our very own Tamil superstar, M.I.A – featured only behind Outkast, Kylie Minogue, The White Stripes and Beyonce, she is at number 5 of the prestigious Observer Music Monthly best 75 singles of the Noughties. Her track ‘Paper Planes’ who featured on the trailer of stoner comedy Pineapple Express and in the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire certainly made waves and is constantly played at parties all over the globe.
An incredible impact for M.I.A who back in 1999, the beginning of the Noughties, was at one of London’s top arts colleges, Central St Martins, getting her degree in fine art, film and video. Her rise and rise over to 2009, not only having her baby Ikhyd Arular and getting engaged into one of America’s richest families, her unusual music has captured the hearts of fans the world over. She’s come a long way from her birth in Hounslow, her upbringing in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and Chennai, South India to living in the South London ‘ghettos’.
With artistes like Afrikan Boy (Nigeria) and Rye Rye (Baltomore) on her very own N.E.E.T. label, M.I.A is also known for her humanitarian and philanthropic efforts – from helping build schools in Liberia and her support for the Tamil cause to her fiancé, Ben ‘Bronfman’ Brewer’s strong backing of the U.N. climate change movement.
Ben is the associate managing director of Global Thermostat, which is chaired by his father, Edgar Bronfman Jr. Ben is also in a new band called Bermuda (he was previously part of The Exit) and is the son of famous African American actress, Sherry Brewer Bronfman (who starred in Shaft, back in 1971). Ben is also the owner of the label Green Owl aka "the earth’s first green music label" – it is backed by his father who is also the owner of Warner Music.
During 2009’s Coachella festival, where M.I.A. performed, she spoke strongly about world issues: "The Third World deserves freedom of speech just like everyone else. We want to fight the battle to say what we want, whether to be serious or just make fun of ourselves. That’s what ‘Worldtown’ is about, that’s what ‘Paper Planes’ is about. It’s what people in the third world live through."
The Thamarai team wish M.I.A and her family a fabulous upcoming year.
Words: Ashanti OMkar