M.I.A. has revealed how she named her debut album after her absent father in an attempt to re-establish contact with him. In an interview with the Observer, the controversial rapper says she became estranged from her father at the age of 10 when her family moved to the UK after being harassed by Sri Lankan government soldiers.
“I thought that if he Googled himself, he’d get my LP and then he’d get in touch,” she said. However, the reunion proved to be far from being a fairytale ending and their relationship suffered as her father dedicated himself to the Tamil struggle to form a separate homeland..
“It irritates me that I end up giving him so much attention when he had so little to do with my life,” she added.
Because of the time her father spent away from home dedicating himself to E.R.O.S. (the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students) — a non-violent group dedicated to support Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority through political pressure — M.I.A. didn’t realise until the age of eight that she actually had a dad. “One of those times, when he came home, he didn’t even know what I was called,” she said.
The estrangement first began when her father became involved with Tamil separatists and he left the family to train with the P.L.O. in the Lebanon. “He went out to buy a pint of milk and didn’t come back for four months,” she said.