The 40-year-old singer grew up in Sri Lanka from an early age and lived through a civil war which erupted in 1983, forcing her mother to relocate her family to India, while her father, who was part of the Tamil separatist movement, stayed behind.
They eventually moved to the UK as refugees in 1986, but the singer said she never thought she would escape Sri Lanka with her life.
“I feel like I should have died a long time ago,” she told the London Evening Standard’s ES Magazine. “I’m surprised I’m still alive, to be honest. I came from war. When I was growing up I didn’t really think I’d live beyond about 25… I never thought I would be old enough to drive or have a house or raise a child. Having to do it is really difficult.”
The singer previously revealed that Oprah Winfrey allegedly called her a “terrorist” when she highlighted her country’s plight to the US presenter.
“In 2009, Time nominated me for one of the most influential people of the 21st century or something and I met Oprah at that party,” she said. “And I was like, ‘Hey, people are gonna fucking die in my country. Like, please pay attention.’ And she was like, ‘You’re shit because you were rude to Lady Gaga and I’m not talking to you. And I’m gonna interview Tom Cruise jumping on my sofa, so fuck off.’
“She didn’t talk to me. She shut me down. She took that photo of me, but she was just like, ‘I can’t talk to you because you’re crazy and you’re a terrorist.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not. I’m a Tamil and there are people dying in my country and you have to like look at it because you’re fucking Oprah and every American told me you’re going to save the world.'”
MIA recently teamed up with H&M, penning her new song ‘Rewear It’ for World Recycle Week. World Recycle Week takes place this year from April 18-24. The clothing chain is encouraging customers to recycle unwanted clothes at its stores. (Courtesy NME.com)