Duke’s Woman Crush Wednesday: Angélique Kidjo

by Duchess Magazine

Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo was born on July 14, 1960 in Ouidah, French Dahomey, now Benin to a Yoruba mother and a father who is from Fon, Ouidah. She is a Beninese singer, songwriter, activist and actress.


Kidjo started performing for her mother’s troupe at 6 and started singing in her school band, Les Sphinx. She made an adaptation of Miriam Makeba’s “Les Trois Z” which was played on national radio.


She became successful in her music career so much that she toured all over West Africa. Sadly, political conflict of that time in Benin didn’t afford her an independence as an artist so she relocated to Paris in 1983.


Kidjo has won quite a number of awards , among which are:

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 Award of Best African Female artist (Africa, 1997).
Mobo Award 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 Prsidency 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.
Songlies 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 Ronsom with Lily Allen, Florence and the  Machine  Blood Orrange and Rudimental.


On October 28, 2014, Kidjo was awarded the Chair Citation by The Dag Hammarskjöld 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 October 6, 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 February 15, 2016; Kidjo won her third Grammy Award for her 2015 album, Sings.
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 her entire career, in conjunction with the release of the French version of her memoir “La Voix Est Le Miroir De l’Âme”


On June 14, 2018, Angelique received the Prix De L’Artiste Citoyen 2018 from the Adami(fr) 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 Electic 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.


Angelique was awarded the 2019 Dutch Edison Award for her career in the Jazz and World category.


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 des Lettres  (France, 2019).


2020 Distinguished Artist Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts. Past recipients include Isaac Stern, Aurthur Rubinstein, Audra McDonald, Bill T. Jones, Peter Brook and others.


On January 27, 2020, Angelique won the Grammy for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards


On February 4, 2020, The UCLouvain University gave an Honorary Doctorate to Angelique Kidjo along with Nuccio Ordine  and François Taddei
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.


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 Montéal 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.


On November 24, 2020, Kidjo was included in the 2020 BBC 100 Women list. The list compiles “the most inspiring and influential women in the World in 2020”


On January 1, 2021, Angelique was awarded the Legion of Honor, the highest French award of merit along with Roberto Alagna and Yann Arthus Bertrand.


On September 15, 2021, Time magazine included Angelique in their Time 100 list.
March 2022, Forbes Woman  Africa Entertainer Award.


On April 3, 2022, Angelique’s Mother Nature wins “Best Global Music Album” at the 64th Grammy award.


On July 8th, 2022, Angelique was awarded the Premio Monini during the prestigious Spoleto Festival. Previous recipients include John Malkovich and Willem Defoe.


Kidjo is married to Jean Hebrail, a famous French singer, songwriter, and producer in 1987 and still live happily together. Their union produced a daughter in 1993.

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