Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.) is one of the music world’s most controversial and politically outspoken artists, having created an exceptional body of work for the last 15 years. Of Sri Lankan descent but born and raised in the UK, she has been a forceful advocate for the rights of the oppressed worldwide, but has also drawn ire for her pointed statements about the nature of power and using one’s voice to speak out on various forms of oppression. Loveridge’s loving, charmingly disheveled documentary charts Maya’s rise to stardom culled largely from self-shot video of the rapper cultivating her art (and identity), providing an illuminating glimpse into the birth of a global pop icon from her humble beginnings. “The cogent, thoughtful organization of this material . . . both makes the film revealing and allows for the impression that it’s more foundational than it is conclusive. Loveridge fully understands that even the trifurcated title of Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. may not be entirely equipped at capturing the extent of this artist’s many-faceted identity.”—Sam C. Mac, Slant Magazine. “As a raw document of Arulpragasam’s life it’s a treasure trove of intimate insights, and fashions an image of Arulpragasam as an artist who documents things as they happen, rather than shooting material that slots neatly into a shiny, predetermined PR narrative.”—Simran Hans, Sight & Sound.
Other Films by Stephen Loveridge
In the late 1970s, legendary soul singer Al Green quit his label and devoted himself to recording only gospel music, while achieving continued commercial success with albums like The Lord Will Make a Way and He is the Light, among others. In this 1984 document, director Robert Mugge films a deeply spirited Green concert, in …