Entertainment & Arts

M.I.A. receives an MBE medal that was stitched by her mother

MIA and her mother Kala Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The musician brought her mother, Kala Pragasam, to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace

When rapper and musician M.I.A. was presented with an MBE for services to music on Tuesday, there was a special family connection at the ceremony.

The star's mother, Kala Pragasam, has spent the last 33 years making the medals, which are presented to honorees by members of the Royal Family.

Fittingly, the pink medal that the Duke of Cambridge pinned to M.I.A's chest was one that her mother had created.

"Mum actually made this one!" the singer wrote on Instagram.

"They don't make this ribbon anymore. I actually got one of the MBE medals she stitched."

The singer, whose real name is Mathangi Arulpragasam, was awarded an MBE in last year's Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to music.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The singer received her medal from Prince William

She brought her mother, a Sri Lankan refugee who was granted asylum in England in the 1980s, to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace and posed for photos with her after the ceremony.

"Today I'm accepting this in honour of my mother who worked for minimum wage to give us a better life," she said in a separate Instagram post.

"As a working class first generation immigrant it's great to be recognised for my contribution. Having freedom to speak my truth and to do it through music has helped me speak for those who do not have those privileges. I will continue fight for those who are silenced or persecuted by others.

"Btw [by the way] mum loves the new saree pin that she made with my cousin."

M.I.A. has frequently addressed themes of conflict, revolution and the treatment of refugees in her innovative, glitchy hip-hop songs; scoring hits with tracks like Paper Planes, Born Free and Bad Girls.

The 44-year-old hasn't released any new music since 2016's AIM; and has recently been re-tweeting fans who've asked: "Where's the new album?"

One even baked the phrase into the crust of a pie.

Earlier this week, the rapper appeared outside Westminster Magistrates Court to air her support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he fought an extradition request from the US.

She told reporters that attending the hearing was "just as important" as receiving her MBE.

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