Polaris Prize winner Haviah Mighty releases powerful video for Thirteen

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As the nation celebrates Canada Day, Polaris Music Prize-winning Hip-Hop artist, Haviah Mighty,  shares her powerful video for Thirteen, standing in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and marginalized communities worldwide. Thirteen, a song about the painful journey of Black people in North America, is from her breakthrough, 2019 Polaris Music Prize-Winning album, 13th Floor. Referencing the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, the lyrics and accompanying illustrated video by Toronto artist, Theo Kapodistrias, expose the roots of systemic racism.

Watch the video below:

On the message behind Thirteen, Haviah says: “I am a first-generation Canadian, born and raised. My father was born in Jamaica, and my mother is Bajan, born in England. I have locks, dark, beautiful skin, and a full nose and lips.  As a Canadian, I’ve been told countless times that I don’t know what racism is, that I’ve never experienced racism, and that racism doesn’t exist in Canada. Because of our reputation as a safe haven, Canadians can be quick to separate themselves from Americans when issues of bigotry arise. Racism is alive and well in Canada, it is simply more covert. The 13th Amendment may be specific to the US Constitution, but it is not specific to US ideologies. Racism is worldwide. The perception of Black people has been destroyed globally.

Thirteen speaks factually and candidly, to the painful journey of Black people in North America. And it speaks to how that journey has morphed into continued racial prejudice, using the media and using the law. To get rid of white supremacy is to identify it at its root. I hope when people watch Thirteen, they feel moved to do their part in reversing white supremacy. I hope we can begin to see one another as equal – a dream I’ve always hoped could one day be a reality. And I hope people realize that it’s going to take WORK! Who is willing to work, to make change?”

Based in Toronto, Haviah will rock two shows today, including City of Toronto’s Canada Day 2020 – watch between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET here, and CBC Canada Day Together – watch between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on CBC TV and SRC TV networks, and stream live via CBC and Canadian Heritage’s online platforms. You can find all details here.

Haviah started a new decade off with US headline shows, a major freestyle on 5 Fingers Of Death on SWAY in the Morning, with Sway Calloway praising her throughout, and plans to rock international festival stages (including SXSW, Osheaga, Ottawa Blues, FOCUS Wales and more) before the pandemic postponed events.

Last year, Haviah became the first Hip-Hop artist as well as the first Black woman to win the Polaris Music Prize for her 2019 album, 13th Floor. The project highlights Haviah’s relentless work ethic and vast sonic influences; ranging from classic Rap/Hip-Hop elements to Caribbean rhythms, frenetic electro and diverse instrumentation, while tackling marginalization and racism head-on as Haviah proclaims self-love as a Black woman.

She is eagerly awaiting the moment she can get back on the stage to perform.


Read Haviah’s full statement on Thirteen here.

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