The Theo Kapodistrias-directed video was selected by a jury of more than 130 media professionals from the music and visual arts industries. It beat out nine other music videos from TOBi, Mustafa, and more, to take home the $20,000 cash prize.
“Music videos have always possessed the power to expand a viewer’s experience beyond the song. With ‘Thirteen,’ Haviah and Theo take it one step further with their powerful and important storytelling. This is artwork that we are honoured to add to the distinguished list of Prism Prize Grand Prize winners,” said Louis Calabro, VP, Programming & Awards at the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and Founder of Prism Prize.
In the video, the history of racism and oppression are on full display as Mighty raps about the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery in America. It’s a look back at the injustices faced, while simultaneously looking ahead to how far the world still has to go when it comes to the ongoing implications of its legacy, such as police brutality.
The Prism Prize is about recognizing the visual excellence of the top Canadian music videos of the year. This year, the virtual award ceremony highlighted a number of nominated works and featured narration by Cadence Weapon. The show was written by music journalist Sajae Elder.
Aside from Haviah Mighty, a number of other artists were recognized for their work, including Crack Cloud, an art punk band and multimedia collective that was presented with the Hi-Fidelity Award for music video innovation. Director and photographer Gennelle Cruz was awarded the Lipsett Award, which celebrates a unique approach to music video art. Jordan Oram, a cinematographer who has worked closely with Drake, received the Special Achievement Award. The fan-voted Audience Award was won by directors Evan Elliot and Lance Sampson for Aquakulture’s “Pay it Forward.”
This year’s recipient of the Willie Dunn Award, given to a Canadian trailblazer who has demonstrated excellence within the music, music video and/or film production communities, was presented to renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Simpson received a $2,500 honorarium and selected selected Inuk musician Beatrice Deer as the emerging Canadian creative to spotlight during the ceremony and to receive $2,500.
While “Thirteen” won the $20,000 prize, teams in the Top 10 shortlist received $1,000 courtesy of Patron partner Slaight Music.