After watching M.I.A.'s latest music video, "Born Free," I -- like many others -- was speechless and pretty shocked. The 9:06 minute video is more like a short film and doesn't even feature the singer. Instead, the song is merely background music to a storyline that riffs on fascism, extreme violence and racism. It was so R-rated that it was even pulled from YouTube and has many wondering why the Oscar-nominated artist would go to such an extreme to make a statement.
The video was produced by French director Romain Gavras, who is notorious for his post-modern neo-realistic style and has worked closely with other artists like Justice on their documentary and the music video below -- which is also tough on the eyes -- including a ton of senseless gang violence.
If you didn't get a chance to check out M.I.A's video, it's still available on VIMEO. (WARNING: These videos are both extremely graphic)
Here is Gavrais' video for Justice's "Stress:"
While this video is clearly not appropriate for all ages, it's themes have driven a real conversation. The fact is, somewhere in the world there are acts of violence like those in the video happening right now. To some extent, there is a gratuitous nature to the violence in "Born Free" that creates an obvious shock value, which undoubtedly is what began the chatter. It's obvious that no mainstream commercial media outlet would ever air this video, but that is what's great about the internet. Artists have a platform to make a statement and connect with audiences -- an essential part of an open and free web culture. Agree or disagree, M.I.A. threw a heavy brick through the front windows of mainstream media and their mass audience revealing a world that's not so colorful and poppy.
Share your thoughts -- Is M.I.A.'s video too much to handle and should it have been pulled from YouTube?