Backxwash is the stage name adopted by Ashanti Mutinta who is the first transgender female artist to win the Polaris Music Prize, which is known to celebrate diversity and to support up-and-coming Canadian artists. Her winning album God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It uses many references from metal bands and horror films, such as distorted samples of Black Sabbath’s singer Ozzy Osbourne, Led Zeppelin and David Lynch’s film Eraserhead.
“As an angry trans woman, I don’t know any other way I can rap.” - Backxwash
Growing up in a religious family in Zambia, she started making hip hop beats as a teenager before moving to Canada in her late teens to live with her siblings. She studied computer science before exploring Montreal’s live music scene and going back to expressing herself through music.
“My existence itself is political. My livelihood is political, and the livelihood of my sisters is political. We just want rights, and we have to go through so many hurdles to do that, and I feel very connected to that struggle.” - Backxwash
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