The M.I.A. Documentary is the Documentary We All Need Right Now
You may have already seen the trailer going around on the Internet. “MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.”, an upcoming documentary about British rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and activist, M.I.A. (real name Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasm). She is best known for her hits like “Paper Planes” and “Bad Girls”, which have been repeatedly featured in several blockbuster movies. Of Sri Lankan origin, M.I.A. had been through quite a lot as an immigrant, before she made it big in the music industry. But through it all she remained true to her culture and heritage, and her music incorporated a range of political, social, philosophical and cultural references.
The documentary was made by her friend Steve Loveridge, and the film makes extensive use of MIA’s own home movies. “The shots with my mum, and us in the bedroom. And there was much more footage of my brother, which was really tough during those times. It still makes me emotional to think about it…” said M.I.A. as she watched a rough cut of her own documentary. “Yeah, it was very emotional.”
She met Loveridge when they were art students in London 20 years ago. M.I.A. was notorious for being the daughter of Sri Lankan Tamil resistance leader, and moved to London when she was 10. “Whenever you went round Maya’s house in those years, there were always incredible amounts of drama happening,” says Loveridge. “Her brother was going to a young offenders’ institute and she wasn’t going to see him for two years, and then her dad came back after no one knew whether he was alive or dead for 10 years… For ages, Maya called my film Keeping Up with the Arulpragasams.”
Even in M.I.A.’s early days in her career, critics have acclaimed the distinctive style to her music, which had a unique sound. Her liberalism and rebelliousness also helped young people find refuge in her songs, and she quickly drew a solid fanbase. In 2001, she received an “Alternative” Turner Prize nomination, and she was also named “Best of the Decade” by Rolling Stone in December 2009. She’s also won artist of the year in several platforms, and Esquire has her on its list of 75 most influential people of the 21st century in January 2010.
Aside from the drama of real-life, of her family’s role in resistance groups, and her stardom, M.I.A.’s personality embodied positivity. She had a fusion sense of humor, which made her special. Her life was turbulent, and it will be evident in this documentary, but through it all, you’ll definitely see her exude positivity and light.
The documentary will be in theaters on September 21 (UK), and September 28 (US).
Watch the trailer for the documentary here: