M.I.A. Says Life Struggles Are Inevitable for Ikhyd

06/03/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Complex

In a new interview with Complex magazine, M.I.A. says that son Ikhyd Edgar Arular, 15 months, is already enjoying a childhood vastly different than her own.

“I had to spend ages on stupid s–t, like getting to know about racism on a really street level, growing up in the projects,” the singer/rapper, 34, explains. “I think he’s gonna have it in a different way.”

To that end, Ikhyd is currently living life at opposite “extremes,” staying with mom at his maternal grandmother’s house which M.I.A. describes as “the size of somebody’s closet in California.”

Dad Benjamin Bronfman, by contrast, comes from a family at “the complete opposite end of the spectrum” according to M.I.A., who feels that those differences are “where [Ikhyd’s] lessons are gonna be learned.”

“I want him to grow up here and spend as much time as possible with his grandma to learn the things I learned growing up in this house,” she continues. “He needs to hang with everybody and meet people and find out what they need and find out what the problems are and what the solutions are.”

While M.I.A. says she doesn’t “hope” for Ikhyd to experience struggles in life,” she concedes that “he’s probably going to have them” nonetheless.

“Any kid being born in these times is gonna have to be resilient to a million and one things,” she explains. “We thought we’d seen it all, and our parents thought that they’d seen it, but every generation it gets more and more intense.”

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 12 comments

Cassandra on

I don’t really listen to her music, but I think I love this woman. Its so refreshing to see a mother, a celebrity to boot, not handing everything to their child on a silver platter!

Lauren on

I love what she says about Ikhyd seeing life at both extremes through his grandparents. I totally agree that that will be what grounds him and keeps him from getting too wrapped up in his wealth and fame (I had no idea Ben Bronfman is the son of a billionaire until I read it recently). Oviously Ikhyd will be exposed to wealth most can only dream of. But as long as M.I.A. will let him see life at both ends of the spectrum, he’ll learn to use his wealth for good.

izzy on

how much do i love M.I.A.?! she’s gorgeous, not your typical blonde bimbo! and she has a brain to go along with her beauty and uniqueness. her baby is so gorgeous. i’m glad she’s not spoiling her kid rotten. the world has enough of entitled monsters.

Dee on

That is one smart lady…..kids should learn about being resilient and she is right. Just when we think we have seen it all and heard it all we realize that the next generation of kids….they suffer more.

Back when I was in high school I though OMG my parents just dont understand. Now that I work in three high schools and I see what the kids are up against, it just makes me shudder.

Now that I am about to give birth in 18 days, I only wonder what my child will face when he or she is ready to face the world. I hope that what I learned growing up back on my tiny island will be instilled in my kid so that he or she can have something positive to draw from when society or their friends try and pull them sideways.

Kudos for her 🙂

Jill on

I love, love, love M.I.A. She doesn’t mince words, she’s the real deal. I think Ikhyd is lucky to have her as his mama; he will be incredibly grounded.

I wish there were more pics of him but I guess he’s in his grandma’s closet so the paparazzi can’t find him there. lol!

Bea on

Wow, sorry to burst your bubble but MIA did not grow up in the projects. She comes from a wealthy, educated background and whilst her mum brought the family over to London from Sri Lanka and they lived in a council house (public housing in UK), they had the privileges that come with being a diplomat’s family. I know this because I was at school with her and my friends lived next door to her when she shared a house with Justinee Frischmann and Luella Bartley in Ladbroke Grove.
Still, I enjoy seeing her and am glad she’s striding forth but the PR around her is hype to give her a “street” edge.

Annie on

Bea – her dad wasn’t a diplomat, he was in the Tamil Tigers! They were here under political asylum. I have no idea what happened after that so won’t comment but they didn’t have diplomatic privileges as refugees.

Electra on

her dad was NOT a Tamil tiger! I still like her music and respect her, but a lot of the stuff she said is fabricated. Read the profile Lynn Hirshberg wrote on her. The one that caused M.I.A to post Lynn’s private number on twitter.

Lioness on

@Electra: no, her father wasn’t a Tamil Tiger, but he was no diplomat either. And he certainly was a Tamil rebel, even if not officially a part of the Tamil Tiger organization. Lynn Hirschberg didn’t exactly represent MIA factually in that article, as evidenced by the editor’s note NYT posted on the article later- so I wouldn’t point people to it. It clearly has an angle to it that I think the author used to sell her article.

Whatever you think about MIA and her past, and whatever is actually the truth about it- the fact is that this woman consistently puts out music that seeks to give a voice to the voiceless, and I personally respect that. She does appear to be level-headed and have her eyes open to many things that Westerners- particularly Americans- choose to close their eyes to. I was born to Nigerian immigrant parents, and you have no idea what type of discrimination we faced- even though my parents had spoken English all their lives, and we were a clean, hard-working family unit. And I didn’t grow up in a project or slum, but project life existed in my town, and as a result, I experienced elements of it. And that may what happened with MIA, so don’t discount it.

I like that MIA seems to want her child to experience the many sides of life- too often, parents (both celeb and non-celeb) want their children to have everything that they didn’t have, and to not face any struggles. Then they wonder why their kids wind up spoiled and direction-less. I hope MIA sticks by her words.

Bea on

Ironically, I want to take issue with Lioness who states “You have no idea what type of discrimination we faced.” That’s ripe to say to people whom you don’t know and you don’t know what their background is. I for one have EVERY idea about discrimination being born mixed race so it’s unwise to assume everybody else isn’t aware.
My point in my original post was that I find it distasteful that people who are from a relatively privleged background play the “street” school of hard knocks card to gain an aura of what they believe is authenticity. Still, it comes down to £$£ in the end doesn’t it.

CelebBabyLover on

“To that end, Ikhyd is currently living life at opposite “extremes,” staying with mom at his maternal grandmother’s house”. Did MIA and Benjamin split up? It just seems odd otherwise that they aren’t living together. Then again, since he’s a billionare, maybe he is away on business a lot. 🙂

Sass on

Maya is not from a “privileged” background at all!! How do I know? I went to school with her and still live in the area that her mother resides. Her mother is still in council housing and she cannot get a Visa to see her daughter in America because of her husbands political “radicalism”…the US government portray him as a terrorist, of course, he is not. So Ben, Maya and the baby come out to see her often.
I don’t know what part of refugee alludes to privilege for you Bea… Have you ever heard of a political refugee that lives a life of privilege??? Come on