by ethnic on February 7, 2008


Birth Name: Mathangi Arul Pragasam

Place of Birth: Hounslow, Middlesex, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 17 July, 1975

Ethnicity: Tamil Sri Lankan

M.I.A. is a British rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, visual artist, director, model, photographer, and activist. She came to prominence through music file sharing over the internet in 2004.

M.I.A. is the daughter of Kala (Kathirithamby) and Arul Pragasam, an engineer, writer, and activist. Her parents are Tamil Sri Lankans, who were involved in the Tamil independence movement. Her father co-founded the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS) in 1975 in Wadsworth, England; the group was affiliated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

M.I.A. spent part of her childhood in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Her name, M.I.A. (Missing in Action), is after a cousin, Janna, who went missing in Sri Lanka. M.I.A. has strong political views and voices them in her lyrics.

M.I.A. has a son with her former partner, Benjamin Bronfman, an environmentalist, who founded the Green Owl record label (his sister is DJ, model, and entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman).

Source: http://www.rollingstone.com

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

sarahle September 24, 2014 at 5:24 am

she was engaged to Benjamin Zachary Bronfman who is of African-American and Ashkenazi Jewish Background.
She gave birth to a Son, who makes him Tamil on his mothers side and African-American/Ashkenazi Jewish on his fathers side.

M.I.A, Ben Bronfman & Son

sarahle September 24, 2014 at 5:31 am

* tamil sri lankan , sorry…

christian April 1, 2012 at 1:55 am

she looks like a typical indian or sri lankier

actually indians , pakistanians and sri lankians are of mixed background

they have some afghan, iranian influence

both of my parents are from afghanistan and they are white and look more eastern european

we have a dozen of ethnicities in those countries

Kiara March 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm

son , i’ve heard about MIA and didn’t know what she looked like until today and whole time i thought she was Black ;o

Nathalie March 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Alright. Someone needs to tell me what is Sri Lankan because I’m very confused about what this debate of MIA’s ethnicity is about. are Sri Lankans different genetically from the Indian diaspora from India?

JzJeff February 24, 2012 at 4:07 am

Shes not Indian, shes Sri Lankan. Different country, different culture, different ethnicty, different looks. enough with the Indian comments.

gigi February 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

sorry to say this but indians are unfortunate looking people

Niecy February 24, 2012 at 9:32 am

Not all of them, and MIA isn’t Indian, shes Sri Lankan.

Daniel February 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

She has conviction and I admire that. The world was her stage and she made a statement, good for her. The world needs more people like this women.

Myself December 19, 2011 at 5:08 am

i thought she was black when i firts saw her. she’s dark for an indian… i know they are dark but not as dark as mia is. she also has african features.

Myself December 19, 2011 at 5:09 am

first* Sorry..typo!

flower January 15, 2012 at 8:40 am

Well first you hve to understand the indian culture…MIA is a black indian …most indians are dark aka brown/blck ( however they don’t want to use the word blck) that’s why the upper class bleach their skin…N u only see the lighter or whiter ones on TV or MOVIES…Its funny becuz I dated indian men dark much darker thn myself but they wouldn’t call themselves blck but would call me blck instead they would call themselves brown…rllly N I’m 8 shades ligther thn them… (It makes me wonder shld I stop calling myself blck)

Marko February 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm

@flower, indians are generally not black, and Mia is not even Indian he’s Sri Lankan!!! Indians are usually in various shades of brown, with minorities with white or black skin. Indians from the north like Punjab are rarely black or dark brown, usually light brown, and the whole world refers to Indians as Asian or brown people. They can’t be black, even the really dark ones because their facial and body structure generally is different, Indians actually fit into the caucasian category along with Middle Easterners and Europeans.

didi February 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Marko the majority of Indians are of a darker hue. They are one of the first steps out of Africa. There are Afo-Indians….ppl who still have a very clear and distinctive tie to Africa…there are also “Indians” who have been out of Africa for thousands of years and still look African. You are right she is Sri Lankan…but the same thing applies to them. >>ever hear of the Sri Lankan kaffir people? Regardless of features (because every feature Indians have can be found in Africa as well), many Indians have a problem as the rest of the world with placing worth in their distance from their beautiful indigenous selves …..aka >>try to look as European as possible and put their own beauty and roots on the back shelf. Google: Kallar, Siddi, Jawara,Dongria Kondh, adivasi people and more>> learn.

MP February 28, 2012 at 12:58 am

Indians from India are not referred to as Asians….they are referred to as Indians.

Nathalie March 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I disagree with that. In america, when people say “asian” they are very typically usually referring to east asians like filipinos, japanese, vietnamese, cambodians, koreans, etc. Indians are classifed as south asians. In the U.K., when they say “asian” they are usually talking about indians, pakistanis, iranians, etc. that’s the difference.

I’m an american, and i look at indians as asian. i don’t understand how anyone could not look at them as asian. unless i’m getting the wrong idea?

mids February 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

no such thing as “African features” dumbass

Samia_Kabullah_Bella November 28, 2010 at 9:21 am

Most of her songs seem politicaly motivated,especially her Born Free video (now banned in the US).

KissOfDanger January 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Talk about freedom of speech.

Niecy February 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

I saw that video… i didnt kno it was banned, can i go to jail?

Malisha June 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm

m.i.a is south asian (like me) coz as a tamil her family would have come from south india to sri lanka. but technically she is of Sri lankan tamil background but she was is a british national

Anonymous April 3, 2010 at 12:07 am

Y’all are dumb
Mia is srilankan tamil
I shud noeee cuzz I’m srilankan too and I know how to spot them easilyyy (:
repesetin srilankan haha (:

ethnic November 13, 2009 at 1:58 am

Leon M thanks for the comment. very interesting info there.


Leon M November 12, 2009 at 12:21 am

Her ethnic origin can be described as Sri-Lankan Tamil. Her nationality is British. She was born in the UK but she has also lived in India and Sri Lanka.

She is a controversial, politically motivated artist with racial undertones in her music. At least one of her videos depicts people in a crowd waving the flag which was associated widely with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) – a violent terror organisation currently banned in over 30 countries (including Sri Lanka, the EU member states, India, the USA and Canada). M.I.A.’s father, a political activist himself, was an associate of former (now diseased) terrorist leader V. Prabhakaran in the formative days of the LTTE. M.I.A.’s father has undergone training with palestinian militants.

Sinhalese Liar November 28, 2010 at 12:42 am

Leon is a Sinhalese.
pushing SLArmy state terrorist propaganda here.

None of MIA’s videos depicts LTTE flags.

Alison November 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm

nope she’s sri lankan sorry

emilly September 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm

umm KIA sweeti i hate to break it 2 u but she aint indian homegurl shes srilankan…

ethnic September 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

Yep she is Sri Lankan not Indian.

emilly September 7, 2009 at 11:15 am

rep srilanka ya digg????
hell yeaaaaaa girl…

emilly September 7, 2009 at 11:15 am

thats ma girllll…yep yep rep srilanka gurllll

kia April 20, 2009 at 4:13 am

shes indian from india

Previous post:

Next post: