MzzAmirraO: The Hardest Working Sister in Hip Hop

Whatever comes to mind when you think of a trans-female rapper, forget what you’ve heard, Amirra Daye Smith aka. MzzAmirraO is breaking down all misconceptions, and glass ceilings with one lyrical rhyme after the next. She’s not afraid to step out of the clones of ‘video vixxens’, and be the strong lyrical stylist she’s becoming known for. Her rhymes says it all, “walk through with a shoe so vicious swag on a thou and the crew all vixxenz, sit so pretty but we came here to dance, we came to get loose grey goose.”

Last month I had  the pleasure of chatting with another member of her crew, Nicki Andro¹. Together they have collaborated on tracks that are growing a fast fan base. What makes these rappers stand out from the others in our community, is that they aren’t afraid to share the stage. They realize to make it, it will take a team, a community, and teams get noticed. That’s exactly what’s happening with MzzAmirraO, and her crew at SMG group.

I’m a lover of music, and I appreciate a good rhyme with meaning, but that’s not what caught my attention by these two artist. Years ago when I popped my first premarin pill, a wise mentor once told me that there is something that money can’t buy and every t-girl needs to posses. Hormones will not deliver it, a man, job or surgery can’t fix it. You either have it or you don’t, and it’s called class.

It’s time my friends of TMP meet the classy, talented, strong, and the hardest working trans woman in hip hop, Amirra Daye Smith aka MzzAmirraO.

 TMP: You’re becoming known as the hardest working trans-rapper out there. What’s the motivation behind your music, and drive?

Amirra Daye Smith:  My main motivation is the youth, so that the young trans girls/boys, can see that yes, we can be rappers too.! I wanna break that door down, and break the stereotypes of transgender women all together. I like to make music for all people. Music that anybody can relate too. My VixxenZ & Vix Fans, keep  me motivated. My Trans sisters, and brothers keep me motivated. They all wanna see me make it, and not just for myself but for all of us. I don’t want to let them down. The world needs to see that there are positive minded, and talented transgender people. We need to be respected.

 TMP: Like many leading hip-hop labels, their crew collaborate together. I’ve noticed a lot of collaborating on your part with other trans-hip hop artists. Who are some of the artists you’ve worked with recently?

A.D.S.: I haven’t really worked with any artist this year besides, Nicki Andro. After putting out my mix tape, I started working on the EP, and there was supposed to be other artist involved, but it didn’t work out that way. Nicki Andro, is the only collaboration that’s on my new EP.² I’m looking forward to working with other artist in 2016. I’m also working with the first artist on my own. I wanna have my own label and start grooming my own artist.

TMP: I’d like you to tell our readers, in your opinion, why it’s so important that we support trans  hip hop artist?

A.D.S.: It’s important that people support transgender women, men, and the youth, because we are people just like everybody else. There’s so much hatred, and ignorance out there in the world, so when we get support, it’s genuinely appreciated. You lead by example, so when you support a transgender person, it opens up the eyes of others. No one should be judged by their race, gender-identity, or sexual orientation. As human beings, we have no limits, and we shouldn’t be limited simply because we are trans.

TMP: Our community, especially our sisters of color, have experienced an unprecedented rate of violence towards us. How much of a positive impact on the African-American community, in particular, do you feel could be achieved for trans society if a trans hip hop artist were to reach the level of popularity, and acceptance in music, as Laverne Cox has done in film?³

A.D.S.: There would be a major impact in the African-American community, to see a transgender woman or man, set the bar high when it comes to hip hop. Some people will never change their opinions of us, and that’s fine too. Also, being a hip hop artist gives the transgender community a voice in hip hop, and would definitely change the way some folk see us.

TMP: Do you feel that if more trans-musical artists were to collaborate creatively that, that would or could bring more visibility and acceptance of all trans-musicians?

A.D.S.: Yes! More collaborations, and more unity is very much needed to help with the acceptance, and visibility of transgender people. There’s power in numbers, and there’s a war going on right outside our doors. More of us will have to stick together if we wanna survive it. At this point, it’s not about competition, it’s about unity, and perseverance. If we wanna make an impact in this industry, we have to stick together. If we wanna make an impact on the world, we must work together, and put differences aside.

 TMP: Music itself can be a political force. We witnessed it in the 80’s, which led to the wall in East Berlin to be taken down, the fall of communism, and great humanitarian relief efforts. Do you feel that could be possible with trans artists, and the plight transgender people face today?

A.D.S.: Yes!! I completely feel that way. Music is very powerful, and is easily shared around the world. The hip hop culture is big on coming together, fighting for what’s right, and what’s fair. It would be great for a group of transgender artist to come together, and do a record together simply to say, ‘Hey we are here, and we just wanna live our lives in a way that makes us happy, and comfortable. Be free to follow our hearts, and not be killed for it.!’

TMP: Did you ever have any concerns about entering hip hop vs. any other genre of music considering the hype of masculinity, and the domination of it by men?

A.D.S.: My mom use to always say, ‘why rap?’ Of all music, why would you wanna try to be a hip hop artist.’ I’d tell her because they say I can’t. People always told me I would never be accepted in hip hop, and I say they don’t have to accept me, but they gonna have to deal with, and respect me, because I’m not giving up. Trans-people are very strong people, stronger than most rappers. Rappers run around pretending for the most part, we on the other hand, actually have to live with the toughest skin, and we are the one who are actually fearless.

TMP: Could you tell our readers about your latest EP, and are there any scheduled performances that we could catch?

 A.D.S.: My new EP, which is titled ‘The Prototype’, can be found on Reverbnation.com/MzzAmirraO. This is my first EP, after releasing four mix tapes. I titled the EP ‘The Prototype’, because I look at it as a blue print for trans rappers. It’s an all hip hop project, that reminds you of 90’s rap, but still sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. This is the original copy that will also be copied by many. The style, the swagger of the album has never been done quite this way by any other trans rapper. It’s a hood album, something the streets can rock to, and the people in the suburbs can rock to at the same time. Seventy percent of the EP, is produced by trans-rapper/songwriter/producer, Nicki Andro, also with Tracks A Team in North Carolina, BBK Productions, and Pootie Moe. There’s an instrumental also done by ATL’s producer KO. I write all my own music, and it was an easy ten records to write. It explains how I’ve been feeling the past few months, yet is still just a sample of what’s to come in the future.

TMP: Where do you see trans-rappers acceptance in the hop hop industry a year or two from now?

A.D.S.: I can definitely see some movement happening as fan bases grow. More people are starting to come around and at least tolerate our community, but we still have so far to go. A major record label would have to pick one of the girls up to make a bigger impact. Once a machine is behind me, there’s no stopping me. I don’t really know what the future holds, but what ever happens I’m ready.

TMP: I like to ask my guest here at TMP, if you could tell the world something unique about MzzAmiraO, and you knew everyone would hear, what would you like them to know about you?

A.D.S.: Something unique about me is that I don’t watch television, lol. I don’t really have the time to dedicate to any shows, but people find that weird. I’m not just a songwriter, I can write anything. I wrote a screen play for an animated TV show when I was 15 years old. I would love to get into film, television, and books. I have a very creative mind, and I’m gonna make that work for me. My community, and anyone that’s entertained by it. 

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS OR ANY OTHER TOPIC ON OUR SITE, PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON  THE TMP FORUM


  1.  Nicki Andro, is a South Florida native music producer, writer, and hip artist. She’s one of the first trans musical artist to collaborate, and bring together countless trans hip hop artist. She has worked with MzzAmirraO, King Giselle, and Lucas Charlie Rose to name a few, through Nicki Andro Productions, and Harlekwin Productions.
  2. MzzAmirraO’s Latest EP is ‘Lady in Amirra’, the success of which has brought about countless radio interviews, and the release of the latest single Dat Gurl.
  3. Transgender entertainers have moved into nearly every media in the past few years; modeling, film, and comedy. Hip hop, has been for decades a very hyper-masculine field, and the music industry in general remains one of the last frontiers for trans artist to emerge on the main stage; resulting in cross-genre fields of music through collaborations, that are quickly changing the landscape for trans musicians.
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Ryan Cassata: One World…One Love…One Community

Revised and Updated from original transmuseplanet post July, 2017

In 2009, Ryan Cassata began making headlines in the LGBTQ community when he appeared on the Larry King show, and interviewed by Dr. Drew. The young musician and public speaker had recently begun telling his story of gender identity disorder. Ryan is extremely vocal against bullying.¹ He began touring the United States, playing at LGBT Pride music festivals.  On June 21st of 2013, Ryan performed at the Warped Tour’s Ernie Ball’s Battle of the Bands, which was part of an online competition.

It was during the competition for the ‘Battle of the Bands’, where fans had to vote for those chosen to play in the acclaimed tour, that I was introduced to Ryan Cassata.  I read his story, his views on being a transgender teen in America, and then listened to his music. After hearing the first song, I quickly had to backspace and cast my vote for this outspoken John Lennon of our genderation. I went back to hearing more of his songs on his You Tube page,² and knew immediately, I had to have a chat with this revolutionary in our community.  

To this day, when I hear his song ‘Hands of Hate’, sung with such passion, I can’t help but be boiled over in tears by the end. You can feel his pain, that has resulted from his experiences with hate. Reminding many of us that have tried to forget those turbulent years of high school bullying, that the struggle for lgtqia youth, sadly persist more than ever.  Recalling to mind,  those fallen angels like Leelah Alcorn, who decided to end the pain rather than endure anymore bullying. 

RyanCassata.com

Once introduced to his story, you can’t help but be inspired by his drive, and determination. That passion, triggered by his own stories of bullying, and struggles with gender identity. His desire for a world of one love, filled with unity can only rekindle that inner child in us all, that still strives to see a world of justice, peace, and love for all.

The momentum behind Ryan Cassata, his music, and mission, is contagious and growing.  His fans are now in the hundreds of thousands around the world. He has become a brand;  launching his own clothing line, respected advocate and role model for countless youth.  Spreading a message of peace, respect and one world love for all mankind.

This is one fascinating young man we have to get to know.

TMP:  Ryan, you have done so many positive things in the world at such a young age. What drives you to want to make a difference in the world?

Ryan Cassata: Thank you.  There is so much ignorance and hatred that can be cured with tolerance. There’s a lot of hate towards the LGBTQ community. I think it would be crazy if I just sat back and let all that hate continue. The time is now to stand up and get things moving towards equality and a better future.
  

TMP: When you were just out of high school, at a time when most Cis-kids are just thinking about enjoying their summer before college, you were being awarded the Harvey Milk Memorial Award in 2011.³  What did such an honor mean to you, and what advice would you give to other Trans-kids who are fighting for equality?

Ryan Cassata: Thank you. When I first started changing things in my high school, I was changing things in order to make things easier for myself. I had to change certain things so that I could survive high school. I skipped 11th grade; during my senior year, I made it my mission to educate my peers and teachers, so they could pass on the message of acceptance. I wanted  my school to accept transgender students by the time I ended school. I knew that if I worked really hard, I could make a difference and make it so much easier for someone else whose transgender that would come along and walk the hallways of my school after me. I did make it easier and I won the Harvey Milk Memorial Award upon graduating high school. This was very symbolic;  I was following in his footsteps and doing good in the world. I started doing a lot of volunteer work in the eighth grade. My advice to other people who want to make a difference is to get involved. Volunteer at your local center and if you don’t have one or can’t volunteer for them, then speak out at your school. I used do speeches for the Long Island center and I also did speeches and educating within and outside of my school…on my own. It became my mission as a young teen to change things and I did.

TMP: I’ve been listening to your music for weeks since we first spoke, and I have to say there is not a song that isn’t inspiring, and makes me hopeful about the world. It’s often hard for a Trans-person to stay so hopeful about things, faced with so much discrimination and hate. How do you turn pain into hope, and make such inspiring music?

Ryan Cassata: I always try to find the good in things and in people. I think everyone has a little bit of good and a little bit of love in their heart. I think with education it is easier to make people understand minorities. When you change your perspective to hope, life will be much more positive.

TMP: When did you start performing and writing music?

Ryan Cassata:  I was singing and making up songs all though out my childhood.  I started actually like, writing music down on a piece of paper and playing it again later when I was about 12. I started guitar at 6 years old, piano at 12, and I started singing seriously at 14.

 I had my first performance when I was about 13. My first band was  called “The Fenetiks.” When that band broke up, I started playing out solo and I loved it.

TMP:  With your many television appearances and interviews for main stream media, is there one that stands out as being the most positive moment for you, whose show and why?

Ryan Cassata: One of my favorite media moments was being interviewed by Long Island Pulse Magazine. They were so open to being educated about the transgender community and they actually cared about what I was doing,my speeches and my music. They didn’t make a being Trans*, a ‘freak show.’  They treated me as a normal person and they wrote an incredible article about me. It’s my favorite so far.

TMP: Your revolutionary spirit is very contagious, but many are bogged down in just trying to survive. Any suggestions on things we all could do in our everyday lives that could make a difference towards spreading universal respect, and equality?

Ryan Cassata: Smile more. Smile at strangers. Go out and do good. Volunteer. Be nice to others.

TMP: What are your hopes and dreams for the Transgender community, and for all of mankind?

Ryan Cassata: I hope the community will become less depressed, and that the suicide rate will decline. I want the transgender community to be seen as another group of people and not a taboo. I want society to accept us.

TMP: You seem to have so many projects going on at the moment. Anything in particular you’d really like the readers of Transmuseplanet to check out, that you are currently working on?

Ryan Cassata: Right now I am working on starting a chest binder fundraiser to raise money for ‘IN A BIND’.   More info about this will be released soon.

TMP:  Could you tell us about your latest EP?

Ryan Cassata: My upcoming EP will be released on September 13th on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. It has eight songs. It’s a very deep album and I am hoping many people will listen and learn from it.

TMP:   Since your touring all over the country, what is your assessment of the level of understanding and support for the Transgender Community in your travels?

 Ryan Cassata: So far, San Francisco is the most tolerant and accepting place that I have been too. I feel safe here. I don’t feel safe on the east coast or in my hometown.

TMP: If you had one chance to tell the world, and knew everyone would hear you at once. What would you like them to know about Ryan Cassata?

Ryan Cassata: I want to change the way society thinks, to be more accepting of the LGBTQ community and to other minorities. I will do anything to spread awareness about this and make peace come sooner.

Courtesy of Ryan Cassata’s 2016 EP Shine

Ryan Cassata is definitely a man on a mission to uplift mankind. He is not only an inspiration but an example of the next genderation of trans activist. He is a reminder of what we all fight for; the day all lgbtqia youth can envision a future of  simply enjoying school, planning for college, and a life afterwards without fear. 

To change the world,  maybe is what every young soul sets out to do, but his story can also be an inspiration to old souls, that we still can.

Anne Frank once said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”  Ryan, and the drive of many trans youth gives us hope, that one day we can see that good in the world.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS OR ANY OTHER TOPIC ON OUR SITE, PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON  THE TMP FORUM


  1. Transgender students face much higher levels of harassment and
    violence than LGB students. And these high levels of victimization
    result in these students missing more school, receiving lower grades and feeling isolated and not part of the school community according to the study The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools‘  by GLSEN.org and written by Emily A. Greytak, M.S.Ed., Joseph G. Kosciw, and  Ph.D.Elizabeth M. Diaz
  2. Ryan Cassata’s You Tube Channel                   
  3. Harvey Milk Foundation:  Harvey Milk Foundation works for equality in the Americas, and around the globe.            

 

 

 

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