“The Only Tamil Rapper”

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NPR titled this interview “M.I.A. On Being Heard,” and they were not joking around.

In it, the Sri Lankan-British rapper relates all the things she’s had to do over the years to convince people to pay attention to a woman from an ethnic minority in a foreign country.

They include threatening to become a drug-addict for the sake of a film (that got her into art school) and flipping off the audience during a Super Bowl halftime show (it’s a religious symbol, she swears!).


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →