When saluting artists who are courageously using their platforms to call for social change, Haviah Mighty has to be recognized. Using her mic as a megaphone, the Toronto-based rapper (by way of Brampton) is shedding light on the hostile realities of navigating life as a Black person.
With piercing lyrics and an equally heavy hitting drill beat, “Protest” speaks volumes on the everyday tangibility of police brutality. Joining forces with the UK’s Yizzy, the two reflect on experiences of being demeaned for the colour of their skin. It’s an empowering Toronto-meets-London anthem and a defiant outcry against every unjust system that seeks to oppress. Inspired by both nightmares and dreams for a better tomorrow, Mighty’s cold truths can be felt no matter what part of the globe you’re from.
Mighty’s flow is assertive and intentional, welding Toronto slang with patois for a drill-dancehall compound. She falls into a snarl-like cadence, rapping: “You hear them sirens, that’s the sound of the law. They say be silent with they hands on your jaw. They say you violent, but they act like they god. They want submission. They’ll let your ass get ravaged by dogs ‘cause there’s a system, and my black ass just don’t fit in”. Her words epitomize the deep, sinking feeling when red and blue lights start flashing. Mighty is zealous and she means every word, because she too has experienced the angst of walking in darker skin.
The cinematic video for “Protest”, directed by Kit Weyman and Chrris Lowe, is filled with subtle symbolism on what it's like living in a world that wants to see your downfall. Following up on her debut album, 13th Floor, Mighty is set to release a new mixtape called Stock Exchange this fall, featuring “Protest” and a handful of new singles. Turning the pages of history back to prove how rigidly injustice is embedded into the present, Mighty's music and activism are very much intertwined, calling on us to know who we are, where we come from, and our rights.