I was a little surprised when I read the news that British-Sri-Lankan rapper/provocateur M.I.A. (aka Mathangi Arulpragasam) was being awarded an M.B.E. (aka The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) this year for her services to music… not because she doesn’t deserve it, but because I didn’t think it was the sort of shiny establishment bauble she’d accept. In fact, there’s a rather sweet reason for why she is “honoured to have this honour”, namely that her Mum used to make the very ribbon that she’ll be receiving! According to her Insta: “I want to honour what my mum spent many hours of her life doing! She is one of the 2 women in England who hand stitched these medals for the last 30 years. After receiving asylum my mum and cousin took this job in 1986, because it was the only non-English speaking manual labour she could find. She spent her life in England hand sewing 1000s of medals for the Queen. No matter how I feel or what I think, my Mother was extremely proud of the job she had. It’s a very unique situation for me where I get to honour her most classiest minimum wage job ever.” Bless.
Apparently she also uncovered a spooky co-inky-dink concerning one of her predecessors: “The last time a TAMIL got a MBE was 1954. It was a man called ARULPRAGASAM (not related) and he died the year I was born.” Yikes! I hope it’s not some sort of Highlander-type situation (i.e., “there can be only one”)…?