M.I.A. Shares Powerful Ode to the World's "Invisible, Silent and Forgotten" Refugees

M.I.A. has been "uniting people since 2003," as the tagline for the singer's new album, AIM, reads. The London-based singer reminded her listeners of that fact Thursday, when she shared a new release date for album — previously slated to drop in July — now coming September 9. She also announced the album's first single "Go Off," which drops Friday, and shared a powerful ode to refugees, which can be viewed on her website.

"Survivors crossed countless continents, countries and borders, leaving behind their homes, lives and dead: only to be rendered invisible, silent and forgotten in exile; only to be told that their bodies might have travelled but their stories have not," the note, penned by Sinthujan Varatharajah reads.

"Their narratives are construed as exchangeable, mutable and nuisance while their bodies are considered collateral damage," the note continues. "Survivors are treated as a surplus people whose very presence destabilizes the status quo, whose voices unsettle the known."

It's the latest in a long line of artistic statements M.I.A. has offered to prove to her listeners that refugee lives matter. Last November, the singer shared a video for the song "Borders," translating the uncertainty and urgency behind the refugee crisis into striking choreographed sequences filled with barbed wire and body piles. Her insistence that refugee lives matter nearly got her removed from her headlining slot at Afro Punk's new London festival.

"I've been told to stay in my lane," she tweeted in June, likely responding to backlash she received about a comment seeming to disparage the Black Lives Matter movement. "Ha, there is no lane for 65 million refugees who's lanes are blown up!"

The same themes appear in the "Go Off" lyrics M.I.A. shared on Wednesday. 

Read M.I.A. and Varatharajah's full statement below.

Survivors of war, conflict and genocide live on as IDPs and refugees, dispersed across their homelands and the globe. They embody the violence that has displaced them into the unknown, into uncertainty and into camps and council estates. Survivors crossed countless continents, countries and borders, leaving behind their homes, lives and dead only to be rendered invisible, silent and forgotten in exile; only to be told that their bodies might have travelled but their stories have not. Their narratives are construed as exchangeable, mutable and nuisance while their bodies are considered collateral damage. Survivors are treated as a surplus people whose very presence destabilizes the status quo, whose voices unsettle the known.
Read more: