There’s no synchronized dancing, Cristal, or any other music video clichés but M.I.A. has still managed to create what will surely be the most talked about music video of the year with her latest single “Born Free.” Released this past Monday “Born Free” comes in at a brisk 9:00 minutes. Directed by Romain Garvas, “Born Free” tells the story of the ethnic cleansing of redheads in a rather grotesque manner. The video starts off with guards in full riot gear rounding up the gingers in a depressing project of some nameless American city. The guards brutishly gather up a busload of redheads and take them out to a dessert, perhaps in the southwest, to be executed. The video is sprinkled with a visually unappealing sex scene and some very monstrous violence, highlighted by a young redheaded boy being shot point blank in the head. M.I.A. gets an A+ for shock value and while the message of the movie is all too clear some subtlety would not have hurt. The music video is a critique of modern day military violence, prejudice and genocide all of which M.I.A. has experienced first hand in her home nation of Sri Lanka.
While the concept of the cleansing of redheads seems down right absurd and straight out of a South Park episode, the video does seem all to real and that is the targeting and extermination of a minority group. MTV news drew real-life parallels to the ongoing issue of immigration in US boarder states, the treatment of prisoners by U.S. troops in military prisons and the overall brutal tactics used against minorities by government forces all over the world.
I personally always felt the point of a music video was to enhance a song and with “Born Free” I felt it was less about the music and more about this in your face message. This is a shame because the song itself is well worth the listen even without the exploding body parts.
(Hopefully the video won’t be taken down as it has been banned from Youtube due to ” content like pornography or gratuitous violence.”