Kinnie Starr on women lifelines, Indigenous protest hip-hop, and half-blood old blues

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This episode of MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman is the second installment of the month-long, Women in Hip Hop special series featuring conversations with Maya Jupiter, Asa Lianess, Kinnie Starr and Ana Tijoux.

This episode features the multi-lingual, multi-talented, highly experimental, politically-charged, Juno-award-winning Kinnie Starr. The Calgary-born, B.C.-based artist was recognized as pioneer in Canadian hip-hop by Toronto's Manifesto Festival in 2011. Her music has been described as "edgy and enchanting" by the New Yorker, and the Record Magazine has described Kinnie as being a "sensual, spiritual, self-possessed [artist]…blazing her own influential trail." Host Charlene Sayo caught up with Starr last week in Vancouver during her tour for her latest album, From Far Away -- she talked about social justice over the music industry, her environmentalism, how hip-hop correlates with her Indigenous ancestry and retiring from the music industry.


Kinnie Starr is one of Canada's most adored and critically acclaimed underground musicians. Widely known in hip-hop circles as an artist with a strikingly authentic voice, Starr has been blazing trails since 1996 with her beat-slamming recordings, outspoken race and gender politics, intelligent and edgy visual art.

Hailing originally from Calgary, Alberta, the multilingual artist pushes artistic boundaries by ignoring them. The mixed-blood Mohawk uses her degree in Women's Studies, her love of hip-hop and street art and her untrained intuitive talent as a pulse in all her music.

In 2010 Starr won a Juno for her production on Digging Roots' second album, We Are and she was nominated at the APCMA's for her video, "It's All You," produced by Big Soul Productions. She also played the Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. with The Borealis String Quartet. In 2011 she was recognized as a pioneer in hip-hop alongside Michee Mee by Toronto's Manifesto Festival.

MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman can also be found at

Intro/outro music: " Rainbow" by Emilie Simon. Remix from the original.

Additional music: "A tua choradeira é meio salário em lenços" by Stealing Orchestra & Rafael Dionísio. Remix from the original.

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