M.I.A. has been honored with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from Prince William. (Amidst Megxit, at least some of the Royal Family are still embracing their duties.) Born Mathangi Arulpragasam, M.I.A. officially received the honor on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace.
News of M.I.A. being given the distinction was first announced last June during the Queen’s annual Birthday Honours. The Birthday Honours recognize British citizens for their work in their respective fields, and M.I.A. was dubbed an M.B.E. for her “services to music.” Elvis Costello was also honored, but with the slightly higher O.B.E.
After Prince William pinned on the award, M.I.A. released a statement about its significance to her as the child of a refugee who actually makes the M.E.O. medals:
“Having received this medal means so much on so many levels. My mother a working class refugee who received asylum in England in the Eighties, along with my cousin are the only two women responsible for hand stitching these medals for the Palace. They held that position for 30 years. Today I’m accepting this in honour for my mother who worked for minimum wage to give us a better life. As a working class first generation immigrant it’s great to be recognised for my contribution. Having freedom to speak my truth and to do it through music has helped me speak for those who do not have those privileges. I will continue fight for those who are silenced or persecuted by others.”
(Read: Top 50 Albums of 2007)
M.I.A.’s last album, AIM, came out in 2016. Since then, she decided to quit music “for now”, released the documentary MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A, and dropped the previously unreleased track “Reload”. She also appeared on numberous end-of-the-decade lists, including our top 25 hip-hop and R&B songs of the 2010s as well as the 100 best songs of the 2010s in general.
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