M.I.A. Shares The Familial Significance of Her M.B.E. Honor From Queen Elizabeth

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage.
Maya Arulpragasam attends the London Premiere of "MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A." at The Curzon Mayfair on September 19, 2018 in London.

After M.I.A. was awarded with a Member of the British Empire award from Queen Elizabeth on Saturday (June 8), the rapper explained how the honor is a reminder of her mother's hard work and her family's "refugee survival story."

Every year, the Queen -- who was born in April, but celebrates her birthday in June with the annual Trooping the Colour and other festivities -- singles out exceptional talents making notable contributions to art, sports, business and more across the United Kingdom with her Birthday Honours list. This year's group includes The Favourite star Olivia Colman, professional nature lover Bear Grylls, troubadour Elvis Costello and M.I.A., who received her M.B.E. for her "services in music."

The award has a strong personal tie for M.I.A., as her mother, Kala, was one of two women who "who hand stitched these medals for the last 30 years." In an Instagram post, M.I.A. shared how her mother -- who received asylum in the the U.K. in 1986 after leaving Sri Lanka, then embroiled in civil war, with her young children -- found a job sewing these honors "because it was the only non English speaking manual labour she could find."

"She spent her life in England hand sewing 1000s of medals for the Queen," she writes. "No matter how I feel or what I think, my Mother was extremely proud of the job she had. It's a very unique situation for me where I get to honour her most classiest minimum wage job ever."

Read M.I.A.'s reaction to her M.B.E. in full below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I'm honoured to have this honour, as it means alot to my Mother. I want to honour what my mum spent many hours of her life doing! She is one of the 2 women in England who hand stitched these medals for the last 30 years. After receiving asylum my mum and cousin took this job in 1986, because it was the only non English speaking manual labour she could find. She spent her life in England hand sewing 1000s of medals for the Queen. No matter how I feel or what I think , my Mother was extremely proud of the job she had. It's a very unique situation for me where I get to honour her most classiest minimum wage job ever. #TAMIL #UKTAMIL #REFUGEE survival story. #LIFECYCLES. #whomademymadels

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