Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam is a British rapper, singer, record producer, and activist. Her music is a combination of alternative, dance, electronic and hip-hop with world music influences.
She was born in London in a Sri Lankan Tamil family and when six months old her family moved to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka. The Civil War in the island country influenced her life that she led after returning to London as a refugee. M.I.A.'s music reflects her passion to work for the cause of migration and refugees
The single "Borders" was released globally on 27 November 2015, accompanied by its socially and politically charged music video which went viral and sparked controversy. Time magazine has named it one of the best videos of 2015. The video for the song was filmed in India, directed and edited by M.I.A. in collaboration with Sugu Arulpragasam and Tom Manaton.
M.I.A. revealed that none of the people appearing in the video were actors, but "real people" she acquired through street-casting and approaching actual refugee camps in the south of India where Sri Lankan Tamils live. M.I.A. dedicated the video to her uncle Bala, who had saved her family by helping them migrate from Sri Lanka to England. The video begins showing all-male South Asian refugees as they run through the desert and climb wire fences which replicate the Melilla border fence, with M.I.A. performing the song in front of the scenes.Reportedly, the reaction to the video has been "extreme" and that she has received a lot of hate as well as positive feedback to it.