M.I.A.'s ‘Born Free’ Video Not for the Faint of Heart

In a world where redheads are relentlessly captured and killed, it's not hard to ask: Who's next? That's what Sri Lankan singer M.I.A. (Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam) seemed to convey in the music video to her new single, "Born Free." More like a short film, the video runs just over 9 minutes and was directed by French director Romain Gavras, who worked on a similar music-video-documentary with Justice and is known for his post-modern, neo-realistic style.

In the video, armed and armored soldiers bearing U.S. badges are dressed in black, with helmets and protective gear. They travel through a seemingly deserted town in an armored truck and storm through an apartment complex, beating residents.The troops seize a redheaded man who appears to be in his late teens, if not his early twenties. The redhead yells profanities at the troops as he is thrown into a bus full of redheaded men around his age. They are taken out to a field of mines where they are beaten and killed.

Interestingly enough, there is no sight of M.I.A. throughout the video. Her voice rings above—and is sometimes lost—in the exploding bombs, beating and screaming that is so obviously shown to viewers. But the video screams her message, taking hits at fascism, violence and racism.

Come on, why destroy all redheads? That's silly, to say the least. Unfortunately, redheads are a metaphor for all the disenfranchised groups in the real world that are being subject to the same violence in the video.

Critics have deemed the video as lacking in artistic quality and being too harsh. YouTube will not broadcast it. Indeed, seeing people blow up from stepping on a mine is hard to take in, but that's happening in real life and that's the merit of M.I.A.'s video. You can check out her video for yourself here.