‘I’m an artist that draws on real life’: How M.I.A. got her name and political persona

‘I’m an artist that draws on real life’: How M.I.A. got her name and political persona

“Are you sure Steve shouldn’t be in this interview?,” M.I.A. said when I asked her how her new documentary came together.

It was a fair question because, technically, the 43-year-old pop star had nothing to do with the making of Stephen Loveridge’s film, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. But she was very much a driving force throughout the creation process thanks to more than 700 hours of personal video footage she handed over to the director eight years ago.

 “When I handed the tapes over in 2011, I wanted to make an in-depth documentary about the Maya album, just because I had so much visual content around it and I felt that it was misunderstood,” M.I.A said.

What was supposed to be a music documentary ended up being an in-depth, intimate look at M.I.A.’s journey from war-torn Sri Lanka to international stardom. For critics who have long questioned the motivation behind her activism, the film  provides clarity on why M.I.A. has refused to let her political voice be silenced.

‘I’m an artist that draws on real life’: How M.I.A. got her name and political persona