Angelique Kidjo Wins Grammy Award

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Benin’s Angelique Kidjo has won the Grammy Award for Best World Music for her album ‘Celia,’ which pays homage to the late Afro-Cuban singer Celia Cruz. The announcement was made on Sunday, January 26, 2020, during the 62nd Grammy Awards held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. This is the legendary 59-years-old singer and songwriter’s fourth Grammy Award win

During her acceptance speech, Kidjo dedicated the award to Burna Boy and celebrated a new generation of African artists coming up to represent the continent while thanking luminaries who came before her for their contributions to world music, including Celia Cruz.

Grammy Award Winner (Left) and Nigeria’s Burna Boy (Right)

“Four years ago on this stage, I was telling you that the new generations of artists coming from Africa gonna take you by storm and the time has come,” Kidjo said. “Celia Cruz, for me she’s the goddess of salsa. She’s the queen of salsa. She is one of those artists that taught me at a young age that my gender cannot define who I am, that I can do everything I wanted to do.”

Kidjo beat out fellow nominees Altin Gün (Gece), Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley (What Heat), Burna Boy (African Giant) and Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet (Fanm D’Ayiti). She also gave an audience-rousing performance of “Afrika” during the 62nd GRAMMYs Premiere Ceremony. 

Angélique Kidjo – Bemba Colorá

Awards and Recognitions

Angelique Kidjo is a well-accoomplished artist with numerous awards and recognitions.

In 2010, the BBC’s Focus On Africa Magazine included Kidjo in its list of the African continent’s 50 most iconic figures, based on reader votes. In 2011, The Guardian listed her as one of its Top 100 Women in art, film, music and fashion and Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” by Forbes magazine. The Daily Telegraph in London described her as “The undisputed queen of African music” during the 2012 Olympic Games River of Music Festival. In March 2013, National Public Radio (NPR) in America, called her “Africa’s greatest living diva”. Kidjo is listed among the “2014 Most Influential Africans” by New African magazine and Jeune Afrique. Forbes Afrique put Kidjo on the cover of their “100 most influential women” issue in 2015. On June 6, 2013, Kidjo was elected vice-president of the Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d´Auteurs et Compositeurs (CISAC). She now resides in New York City, where she is an occasional contributor to The New York Times. Kidjo has received Honorary Doctorates from Yale University, Berklee College of Music and Middlebury College.

Kidjo is the recipient of the 2015 Crystal Award given by the World Economic Forum of Davos in Switzerland and has received the Ambassador Of Conscience Award from Amnesty International in 2016 She also is included in the exhibits at the National Museum of African American History that opened on Sept. 24, 2016, on the National Mall. Other awards include:

  • Prix Découverte RFI SACEM (France, 1991)
  • Octave RFI (France, 1992)
  • Prix Afrique en Creation (France, 1992)
  • Danish Music Awards: Best Female Singer (Denmark, 1995)
  • Kora Music Awards: Best African Female artist (Africa, 1997)
  • Mobo Awards for Best World Music Act (UK, 2002)
  • Médaille De Vermeil De La Ville De Paris (France, 2004)
  • Africa-Festival Award (Germany, 2006)
  • SAFDA African Pride Award (South Africa, 2006)
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim Award (Canada, 2007)
  • N.A.A.C.P. Image Award for Outstanding World Music Album (USA, 2008)
  • Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album (USA, 2008)
  • Go Global World Music Award (Denmark, 2008)
  • Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic (Italy, 2008)
  • Commander of the National Order of Benin (Benin, 2008)
  • Making a Difference for Women Award from the National Council for Research on Women (USA, 2009)
  • Afropop Hall of Fame (USA, 2009)
  • Celebrating Women Award from the New York Women’s Foundation (USA, 2009)
  • Premio Tenco Prize for her entire singing career (Italy, 2009)
  • On May 8, 2010, Kidjo was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by Berklee College (USA)
  • Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 2010)
  • Grand Prix Des Musiques Du Monde De La Sacem for her entire songwriting career (France, 2010)
  • Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album (USA, 2011)
  • Prix Special de la Francophonie (Washington DC, USA, 2011)
  • Champions of the Earth Award (United Nations, 2011)
  • BET Awards nomination for Best International Act: Africa (USA, 2011)
  • Miroir Awards for World Music of the Festival d’été de Quebec (Canada, 2012)
  • Trophée Des Arts, FIAF French Institute, Alliance Française (New York, 2012)
  • Keep A Child Alive’s Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Work, shared with Oprah Winfrey, (New York, 2012)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Diaspora Awards 2012
  • Songlines Music Awards in the Best Artist category (UK 2013)
  • On May 25, 2014, Kidjo was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts by Middlebury College (USA)
  • On June 4, 2014, Kidjo received the Arms Around The Child Award along with Jez Frampton during The Other Ball event in London hosted by Mark Ronson with Lily Allen, Florence And The Machine, Blood Orange and Rudimental
  • On October 28, 2014, Kidjo was awarded the Chair Citation by The Dag Hammerskjold Fund for Journalists at the United Nations in New York. Past recipients include Bob Woodruff and Nicholas D. Kristof
  • On December 27, 2014, in Lagos, Nigeria, Kidjo won two All African Music Awards (AFRIMA): one for Best Contemporary Artist, one for Best Female Singer from West Africa.
  • Kidjo is the recipient of the 2015 Crystal Award given by the World Economic Forum of Davos in Switzerland
  • On January 28, 2015, Kidjo was awarded the Visionary Leadership Award by the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album, on February 8, 2015; Kidjo won her second Grammy Award for “Eve,” a tribute to the continent’s women.
  • On February 9, 2015, Kidjo won the International Mappie Award given by the M-Magasin in Stockholm, Sweden
  • On May 6, 2015, Kidjo was awarded the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award in New York by Synergos. Past recipients include Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Jennifer and Peter Buffett, Mo Ibrahim.
  • On May 18, 2015, Kidjo was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by Yale University (USA)
  • On Oct 6th, 2015, Kidjo was awarded the Impact Award by the Population Council organization along with Elisabeth J McCormack.
  • Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album, on Feb 15th, 2016; Kidjo won her third Grammy Award for her 2015 album, Sings.
  • Kidjo is the recipient of the 2016 AllAfrica Leadership Award
  • She has received the Ambassador Of Conscience Award from Amnesty International in 2016
  • On June 23, 2016, Kidjo was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
  • On July 15, 2017, Angelique has received the Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role from the African Movie Academy Awards for her role in Kunle Afolayan’s movie, The CEO.
  • On November 16, 2017, Angelique Kidjo received the prestigious “Grand Prix Des Musiques Du Monde” from the Académie Charles Cros for her entire career, in conjunction with the release of the French version of her memoir “La Voix Est Le Miroir De l’Âme”
  • On February 24, 2018, Angelique Kidjo received the Charles de Ferry de Fontnouvelle Award from the Lycee Francais De New York. The following month she was added to the 2018 OkayAfrica 100 Women list. The orgnisers cited her talent and activism in making the award.
  • On June 14, 2018, Angelique received the Prix De L’Artiste Citoyen 2018 from the Adami, the French society of performers.
  • On October 21, 2018, Angelique Kidjo received the first World Pioneer Award during the Songlines Magazine Music Awards 2018 ceremony at Electric Brixton in London. She sung a duet with Fatoumata Diawara backed by Mokoomba during the finale of the evening.
  • On December 7, 2018, Angelique received the German Sustainability Award along with Richard Gere and Rea Garvey. The award is endorsed by the German Federal Government, local and business associations as well as numerous NGOs, among them UNESCO and UNICEF. The German Sustainability Award was established in 2008 to encourage the acceptance of social and ecological responsibility and to identify role models in this area.
  • On June 13, 2019 Angelique was awarded the Musicultura Unimarche Prize by the Universities of Macerata and Camerino in Italy which is awarded to Italian and international personalities who have distinguished themselves in their careers for high artistic merits.
  • Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 2019)
  • 2020 Distinguished Artist Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts. Past recipients include Isaac Stern, Arthur Rubinstein, Audra McDonald, Bill T. Jones, Peter Brook and many more.

• On January 27th, 2020, Angelique won the Best world music album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards for the Album: Celia.

Kidjo’s Grammy nominations include the Best Music Video of 1995 and Best World Music Album for works completed in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2014 2015, 2019 and 2020.

Angélique Kidjo is the 4th laureate of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award (2007). Created in 2004 on the 25th anniversary of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, each year the award is given to an artist distinguished in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz and cultural crossover is widely recognized.

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