After fleeing from Sri Lanka with her family to London at the age of seven during the country’s civil war, Maya Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.) instantly gravitated toward music. “It was the only thing I had. At school, I did a dance performance to Run-DMC’s ‘Mary Mary’,” she says. The performance turned her from outcast into class hero: “Suddenly, it wasn’t about whether I could speak English or if I was a refugee.”
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