M.I.A. Reacts to M.B.E.: ‘I’m Honored to Have This Honor’

M.I.A. was among the artists recognized for their “services to music” by the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List and, like fellow honoree Elvis Costello, the rapper will accept the honor thanks in part to her mother.

On Saturday, the rapper born Mathangi Arulpragasam, the daughter of Sri Lankan Tamils, received an M.B.E., or Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

“I’m honored to have this honor, as it means alot to my Mother. I want to honor what my mum spent many hours of her life doing,” M.I.A. wrote in an Instagram post acknowledging the title and revealing that her mother helped craft the medals the Queen’s Honours hand out every year.

“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 labor 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.”

M.I.A. continued, “It’s a very unique situation for me where I get to honor her most classiest minimum wage job ever.”

Elvis Costello, who received an O.B.E. after being recommended by former Prime Minister Theresa May, stated that he initially planned to forego the honor before his mother convinced him to accept it. “I listened carefully to my mother’s argument that if something is deserved then one must be gracious in acceptance,” Costello admitted.

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