By: Josephine Cruz
Toronto-based rapper Haviah Mighty has won the 2019 Polaris Music Prize for her album 13th Floor. The Prize goes to the best Canadian album of the year, based on artistic merit and without regard to genre or sales.
“For me the 13th Floor is something that we remove from our reality because it is something that we don’t understand and therefore we dismiss it,” said Mighty of her win. “This is very parallel to so many of the experiences that I speak on, on this album. I’m in a room with so many different people from so many different walks of life who have acknowledged that this is something they feel is important. These people don’t necessarily share the narratives that I do or the walks of life that I have, and yet, here we are, finally on what I believe is the 13th Floor.”
13th Floor won over albums by Marie Davidson, PUP, Jessie Reyez, FET.NAT, and Shad, among others. The prize also comes with $50,000 in prize money, with the other artists who made the shortlist receiving $3,000 each. The winner was determined by a Grand Jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of almost 200 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across Canada.
“This is the moment of resurgence where the dismissal that has existed is now being removed, and the discussion is being had,” said Mighty, who is the first rapper and first Black woman to take the top honours. “I’m so grateful that the people around me push me to be brave enough to speak my truth and to have it be acknowledged in this way.”Haviah Mighty, Polaris Music Prize