What’s it like to live an existence that is inherently political? That’s something that Haviah Mighty has thought about on more than one occasion.
*photo by Yung Yemi
Mighty (yes, that is her real name) was born into a web of intersectionality. Canadian, immigrant, female, suburban, urban, the list goes on. Holding the web together is a creative core, a passion for music discovered early in Haviah’s life. That spark was fanned to a flame with the support and encouragement of her musical family in Brampton, burning brighter still as she found her musical persona among the rap queens of Sorority. Now that flame burns brighter and brighter as Haviah Mighty conquers the GTA, and soon, the world. And she’s well on her way. She’s already collaborated with the likes of Tribe Called Red, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Nelly, and Snoop Dogg, and has graced the stages of clubs, venues and festivals in Canada, the U.S. and overseas, sharing her powerful performance skills with audiences all over.
Haviah has released her first full length album, 13th Floor. Check out the single “Blame”.
Along with her passion for music, Haviah is incredibly intelligent, thoughtful and well-spoken on so many key and important issues facing young people, especially those of color, in these increasingly complicated time. I asked Haviah what she wanted to share with our audience, given the platform to do with what she chose. She graced us with this through-provoking missive on holding an identity that by way of its existence is inherently political, take a read below.
*written by Haviah Mighty
So much history is often ignored, and so many narratives have been erased, but black skin and female bodies are deep-rooted in the politics surrounding North America, and the rest of the world today. I believe identifying as even one of these two things makes anyone inherently political.
And then there’s me. Haviah Mighty. A black rapper who is also female, with rich chocolate tone melanin, and locs for hair. Some people call them ‘dreadlocks’ but I can’t subscribe to dreading anything that grows from my head. Even the origins of the words used to describe my hair, as well as the stigma associated with my hair, is very political. I’ll add that I am also an expressive dresser – loud, colorful, with ‘tomboy’ influenced attire and crop tops, showing just a bit too much skin for some, and certainly not ‘ladylike’ enough. So I’m hyper-aware that my existence alone, can and will disrupt the status quo. It always has.
In my earlier years, this ‘disruption’ had teachers trying to convince my parents that drugs were needed to manage my anger and slow learning. In short, let’s thrust this FOUR YEAR OLD into the fragmented framework of physicians, doctors, hospitals, taxpayers, pharmaceutical companies, lawyers, policymakers, and whoever else funds and financially benefits from the drugs I’d have been given. This pretend ailment would have furthered those industries, but likely would have destroyed me. All because they didn’t know how to ‘deal’ with me. With strong, attentive parents, I did not fall into that trap. Mom & Dad also protected us from the harassment from our neighbors, who constantly called the police on my sisters and I for playing the piano too loudly. Or how about the many times we had bricks fly through our front window, followed by someone triumphantly shouting the N-Word? I was kept in my room and soothed, to avoid getting lost in the confusion and pain that comes with having black skin in Canada. They created a barrier between me and a world that they knew didn’t care to understand me. They prevented the politics from swallowing me up. I lavished in the idea of being educated. I enjoyed being called a nerd. I aimed to further educate myself wherever possible. I always fought for equality.
But I’m lucky. I was fortunate to have both of my parents present and under the same roof. What I have is rare. The structure of marriage, and politics of communion, all play a hand in this. My parents’ subscription to the politics before them (and their love for each other) made it so that they could be there for their 4, eventually 5, children. They fought the status quo always, even challenging gender norms, with my loving black father being a stay at home dad in the beginning, while mom hustled two jobs. Dad made most of the meals. Dad took us for bike rides. Dad kissed our foreheads. I never questioned who was supposed to play what role in my house. There were no policies to follow and thus, I was able to develop into who I naturally am, without qualm, without interference.
I am Haviah Mighty because my parents sheltered me from the dangers of being an inherently political human. Of course, that could never last. I feel the effects every day now. But the strength I was able to build, the calluses I’ve developed, comes from a foundation that prevented me from being broken early on. It made me strong enough to continue my fight today.
Powerful words from a powerhouse in her own right. Deepest thanks to Haviah Mighty for sharing her message with us and our readers. Check out Haviah doing what she does best as she continues to play live across Canada. Upcoming tour dates available on her website below.