Feb. 16 (GIN)—African singer, showstopper and activist Angelique Kidjo, won her second Grammy Award for the Best World Music Album, which she dedicated to African women.
Speaking at the red carpet ceremony held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, she thanked the African women who inspired her. “To be recognized at the Grammys means that the women of Africa have got to be recognized,” she said. “Do you know what that means? It shows that all the music we listen to comes from Africa. Thus, there is no R&B, rock and roll, hip-hop without African music.”
She continued, “This album is dedicated to the women of Africa, to their beauty and resilience. Women of Africa, you rock! For me, music is a weapon of peace, and today more than ever, as artists we have a role to play in the stability of this world.”
She also carried away the Crystal Award, given for her concern with humanitarian issues and commitment to making a difference.
Kidjo, who is based primarily in New York, had returned to Benin to make the winning album “Eve,” traveling with a recorder, taping the harmonies of women’s choirs. In total, she recorded more than 100 women, among them her own mother.
The album features a diverse array of musical collaborators, including the Kronos String Quartet, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra and keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij of the indie rock band Vampire Weekend.
A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Kidjo has been outspoken on climate change and improving the public health sector on the continent.
During a recent visit to her West African birthplace of Benin, Kidjo urged the government to support “Second Chance,” a program for young people who have dropped out of school. Students at “Second Chance” are taught basic reading, writing and math over a three-year period to pass the national exam and receive their primary study certificate. The coursework would normally take six years.
Among the many tributes she has received, Kidjo is the first woman to be listed on Forbes’ “40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa.”