M.I.A. has a new video out and it's being pushed as this week's Erykah Badu-type scandal. The video for “Born Free” is streaming as the front page of M.I.A.'s official website, the same strategy Badu used with her naked-JFK-assassination stunt a few weeks ago.
Los Angeles is featured prominently on the “Born Free” video, which imagines a fascist USA where the government hunts down redheads. Yes, redheads.
Of course there's nothing new or shocking about making a point about the wrongness of discrimination and fascism in the real world by getting all metaphorical (“what if the government came for … left-handed people? … puppeteers? … gap-toothed women? … gingers!) — in fact, there's a whole bunch of old Twilight Zone episodes that hinge on that very premise.
The song, as is the standard with M.I.A., is pretty top-notch, though it's way more abstract (especially the video mix) and nowhere as poppy as “Galang” or “Paper Planes.” The video's director is Romain Gavras, the son of renowned filmmaker Costa-Gavras, who was responsible for some of the most shocking political films of the '60s and '70s (Battle of Algiers, Z, Missing).
Check it out for yourselves. What do you think? Shocking? Thought-provoking? Or Rod Serling did it best years ago?: