MIA opens up about ‘the issue’ of being a refugee in the UK

The rapper and activist speaks exclusively to NME

MIA has opened up about her experience as a young refugee, and what it must be like for those seeking asylum in the UK in 2016.

The rapper and activist was forced to flee war-torn Sri Lanka with her family when she was nine-years-old, before later settling in London.

Now, she has spoken out to NME about her ordeal and ‘the ordeal’ of being a refugee while growing up.


“If you’re coming from the war zone, you definitely got an issue,” she said. “You have to adapt to a new place, you have to start new schools – every kid is going to go through all the things I went through. They’re gonna be in a council flat, they have to fill out the forms, sit in the waiting rooms, get housed, wait for your voucher for your school uniform. And you had to come up with how to make luncheon vouchers look cool because you’re the only kid that’s got ’em!

“It’s my experience I had in England, this weird fabric of communities I experienced, that are all part of my sound in the end.”

Read MIA’s full interview in NME from tomorrow (Thursday 29 September).

MIA made headlines with ‘Borders’, as the video sees her join a group of refugees as they travel across the sea in boats and climb fences, while she reels off the lines: “Politics / What’s up with that? / Police shots / What’s up with that? / Identities / What’s up with that? / Your privilege / What’s up with that? / Broke people / What’s up with that? / Boat people / What’s up with that?”

Her new album AIM is out now.

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