M.I.A. Told “No Way” By U.S. Immigration
Mon, 22 May 2006 12:52:42
As reasons for entering the United States go, M.I.A. (real name Maya Arulpragasam) had a pretty good one: She was scheduled to get into a studio with Timbaland to work on the follow-up to her massively buzzed-about debut, Arular. U.S. immigration officials, however, were not swayed, and refused to issue a visa for M.I.A. to either visit or work on American soil.
“I’m locked out! They won’t let me in!” reported M.I.A. on her MySpace page. “Now I’m strictly making my album outside the borders!”
Her legal team is reportedly trying to sort out the mess, and the reasons for the rejection are not known -- although there is, naturally, plenty of speculation. Perhaps most worrisome for those charged with defending national security, M.I.A.’s hard-to-decipher lyrics aren’t always about salt-and-peppering her mango; there’s also talk about bombs and guns and kidnappings and freedom fighters.
And then there’s the matter of family ties. While M.I.A. was eventually raised in the benign backgrounds of London and art school, her father is a noted member of the Tamil Tigers, a hugely controversial revolutionary group in Sri Lanka who are alternately demonized as the inventors of the modern-day suicide bomber and hailed as the country’s only hope for freedom from an oppressive regime.
Regardless, for the sake of dancefloors everywhere, hopefully immigration officials will recant and open the door to our fruited plains and multi-platinum producers.
In the meantime? According to her last post, M.I.A. is waiting in her bird flu lab in China, liming and drinking tiger beer with her pet turtle. If you’re thinking you can get her into the States via a super sexy marriage, you’re too late: about 500 other MySpacers have already suggested it to her.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff