Toward the end of M.I.A.'s incendiary "Born Free" video, there's a horrifying slow-motion scene in which 12-year-old Ian Hamrick — one of the redheaded "minorities" rounded up by armed police officers — is shot in the head, then collapses to the ground as blood spurts from the wound.
Not surprisingly, Hamrick's parents weren't too excited when he was first cast in the video (his dad is a retired cop), but he persisted and eventually they allowed him to take part. And for the young actor, it was actually an opportunity to make a powerful statement. Because, as he revealed to TMZ, he's pretty deep for a 12-year-old.
"I think she was trying to show violence to end violence," Hamrick told the site Thursday. "The video is definitely not for kids — I haven't even seen the full video myself — but for all the adults and people in different countries who are doing that in real life ... doing the genocides to whatever: Italians, Africans, wherever it's from, it's still genocide. So it's showing violence to end violence."
Hamrick also told TMZ that he had met with the production team behind "Born Free" before signing on for the video, and was well aware of the grisly storyline. He also wants it to be known that "M.I.A. was a sweetheart."
In the meantime, debate continues to rage over the content of the video, which, while not entirely "banned" from YouTube, has been carefully hidden by YouTube's staff after enough viewers flagged the clip for objectionable content. A report on Wired.com cites a spokesperson for the site as saying that, while YouTube didn't pull the video, it did place it behind an age-restriction click through, rendering it impossible to find unless you already know the URL.
What do you think of M.I.A.'s "Born Free" video? Be warned: it's extremely violent.