M.I.A. is gunning for social justice on this fiery new track


It’s the first day of the summer months, and M.I.A. is bringing the heat. After a Periscope Q&A this morning in which she discussed her ongoing struggle to obtain a U.S. visa, she gifted her fans with some new music.

“POC That Still a Ryda” is not exactly a “new song,” per se. M.I.A. wrote on the YouTube page for this video that it is “a mix of all the songs on my upcoming LP.” And this clip is seemingly a rough draft, as you can see the row of Apple icons disappear from the bottom of the screen as the song begins to play. Her upcoming album Matahdatah is expected to drop this summer.

If this compilation can teach us anything, it’s that M.I.A.’s new album isn’t coming quietly. This remix is loaded with lines like “Throw up your henna / Throw up your middle finger,” and “I’m here for every color / Including Black Lives Matter.” M.I.A. isn’t out to create banging, sugar-sweet pop songs with no message. Instead, she’s promising a record full of social justice callouts and powerful cries of injustice.

M.I.A. has long made a point of acknowledging the plight of the refugee in her work. Of her debut album Arular, in 2005, she told The Guardian, “What I thought I should do with this record is make every refugee kid that came over after me have something to feel good about.”

The video for her most recent single, “Borders,” released November 27, 2015, attempted to draw attention to the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East by featuring a backdrop of people on boats and desperately climbing over fences.

In the YouTube blurb for “POC That Still a Ryda,” she writes [sic]:

had to do a remix to let u know , i been poor , i been rich , i been brown , i been black , i seen white and i been around the world a few times ay ay ay ay . LOVE IS THE ANSWER what the question is i don’t fucking know.  we in this together.

It really seems like we are.

Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.

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