It’s sad when art and politics collide, and one cannot function because of the other. This happened recently when former One Direction member, Zayn Malik wanted to shoot his part for Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A.’s video, Freedun. The track is part of her recent album, AIM, in which Malik lends his voice for the soulful chorus.
To shoot for the video, both artists faced issues due to diplomatic and political reasons. M.I.A., who now resides in the United Kingdom, could not get a visa to work in the United States, due to which she and Malik could not collaborate on the video. When she decided to make the video to Freedun in Kashmir, Zayn faced an issue because he is of Pakistani origin, and the region has been facing border issues with India and Pakistan, due to which there is almost constant unrest, and the local people would not appreciate someone of Zayn’s ethnicity making a show there.
M.I.A. spoke to VEVO about the scenario when she said: “It’s just really hard as he is in America and I can’t get in, he’s not getting out, and I’m not going to make a video about Skype conversations cut together.
I never finished Freedun. But I shot for 4 days.
It was dangerous to have Zayn come to Kashmir [because] he’s half Pakistani and I couldn’t get a visa to the US at the time. There is so much bureaucracy.”
As she is famously known for, M.I.A. creates music that is politically driven, since she herself is of Indian-Tamil descent and is a refugee from former war-torn Sri Lanka. Freedun is an ode to refugees and the issues they face by not being accepted by their own countries, and then having to face so much hate and apprehension in their new countries. And then Zayn adds a romantically hopeful twist to the whole situation,
M.I.A. has finished shooting her scenes for Freedun in the Himalayas, and she is also working on the video for her other track, P.O.W.A.