“F*ck UMG who won’t show it on YouTube!” M.I.A. tweeted, suggesting that her label was behind the ban. Later, though, she clarified that UMG was not at fault and posted a tentative tracklist for her upcoming June album, from which “Born Free” is the first leak.
In the video, military police officers wearing American flag badges on their shoulders raid an unidentified city and round up roughly a dozen red-headed young men, delivering a severe beating anyone who stands in their way. That’s already disturbing, but the nine minute-plus clip becomes truly difficult to watch when the officers turn their weapons on the boys. In short, anyone who was up in arms about Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat” video will probably feel ridiculous after watching this.
M.I.A.’s “Born Free” was directed by Romain Gavras, who previously helmed a music video for French dance duo Justice’s “Stress” that also bears violent tendencies and a gritty realist aesthetic. Watch “Born Free” below, at your own risk.
[Warning: This video contains extremely graphic and disturbing violence.]
Video: M.I.A., “Born Free”