The “undisputed queen of African music”
Angélique Kidjo is a Grammy award-winning singer, activist, and humanitarian. With her impressive voice, powerful words, and contagious energy, she electrifies and inspires audiences around the world.
Born in the West African country of Benin, Kidjo began performing with her mother’s theater company at just six years old. When the Communist regime took over the country and threatened her artistic freedom, she made a dangerous escape to France and later settled in New York City.
Throughout her acclaimed musical career, Kidjo has released 10 albums and has performed on The Tonight Show, The Late Show with David Letterman and at the request of President Barack Obama. She has also been sought out by fellow world-class musicians, and she has shared the stage and/or collaborated with Bono, Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys and Philip Glass.
In her advocacy work, Kidjo serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and speaks out for human rights, gender equality and conservation. She has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times and CNN. Through her nonprofit, The Batonga Foundation, Kidjo provides girls across Africa access to secondary education and works to empower them to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Kidjo’s intimate memoir, Spirit Rising, is a vibrant mix of text, photos, song lyrics and recipes from her extraordinary life. Reading about Kidjo’s life makes it easy to understand how she was named one of “The Guardian’s 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World,” and one of “Africa’s 50 Most Iconic Figures” by the BBC.
Kidjo’s talk is entitled “Spirit Rising: Live your Dreams.”
This event is not open to the public.