Borders – What’s Up With That?

The notorious M.I.A known for her song “Bad Girls” that hit more that 70 million views released a very provocative song called Borders that questions hierarchy, police brutality, equality and borders. The song released in November has caused an online buzz, both with and against the song. (you can watch the music video below)

M.I.A has directed this video which received average positive feedback due to the mention of borders and refugees, especially because of the status refugees face now in Europe and the United States. It is believed that she aimed to raise a few questions for the audience to think about in a different and a creative way. One could argue that the lyrics make sense, and intrigue curiosity on the different events going on in the world right now, be it the refugee crisis, the politics going behind the scenes with events such as the Paris attacks, all the military attacks on Syria and Iraq, black people being murdered by police in the United States and white privilege being defended by people like Donald Trump.

What’s up with that?
What’s up with that?
Police shots
What’s up with that?
What’s up with that?
Your privilege
What’s up with that?”

However, maybe M.I.A should have just released the song on itunes or spotify without a music video, because the video received three different types of reactions. The first reaction is the positive one that supports her depiction of the terrible happenings in the world in an artistic way. But, on the other hand, there were reactions uncalled for by Europeans against refugees. These reactions do show how a segment of people think about these situations, but one believes that this should not be taken into consideration because the behaviour of these youtube users are unjustifiable.


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Leaving aside all these critics, the only justifiable critic is her choice of clothing trying to promote such awareness, the clothing she chooses is too artsy, too fancy for those around her. Some can argue that this is her own choice, but it is believed to be too out-of-place sort of clothing. Then out of nowhere in the video, she comes up wearing the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club jersey, and instead of their sponsor Fly Emirates on the front of the jersey, it says Fly Pirates, which can make a statement from her point of view, but it comes up as an advertising stunt, especially with QNB written on the sleeve which is Qatar National Bank. Also, it might be insensitive to french people because the video came out a few days after the Paris attacks.

One believes that this project has definitely created a fuzz wether it was aimed to be so controversial or not. M.I.A has succeeded in delivering a hard message to the world about the issues going on in an innovative manner, but there were a few mistakes that could have been avoided to send a less controversial message with the already artistic means she used.

Almustafa Mahmoud Khalid



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