Skip to main content

Mustafa performs during the Juno Awards in Toronto on May 15, 2022. Mustafa Ahmed has emerged the winner of this year's Prism Prize for his deeply personal and self-directed music video "Ali." HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan DenetteNathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Mustafa Ahmed has emerged the winner of this year’s Prism Prize for his deeply personal and self-directed music video “Ali.”

The poet and musician, who performs under the name Mustafa, hails from Toronto’s Regent Park community. He received the $20,000 grand prize during a 10th-anniversary Prism Prize event on Thursday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

“Ali” is a powerful tribute to Ahmed’s friend Ali Rizeig, an 18-year-old Black Toronto resident who was shot and killed in 2017 as he stood at his doorstep.

The music video for the song, which appears on Mustafa’s 2021 album “When Smoke Rises,” was filmed inside homes and around the Regent Park neighbourhood as the singer walks among his young male friends who seem to fade away without warning.

“Ali” was chosen as the Prism winner by a jury of more than 130 professionals from the music and visual arts industries who weighed 10 finalists for the music video prize.

All other production teams on the short list receive $1,000 apiece.

Ahmed is also the recipient of this year’s Willie Dunn Award, given to a trailblazer in the Canadian music community. The $2,500 honour was announced before the Prism ceremony giving him an opportunity to select an emerging Canadian creative to receive an additional $2,500.

He chose Toronto-based Somali rapper Puffy L’z, born Habib Mohamed.

Meanwhile, this year’s audience award went to Surrey, B.C.-based DJ and producer born Asad Khan, who performs as Khanvict and director Anjali Nayar for their music video “Closer.” The win comes with a $5,000 cash prize.