Angélique Kidjo Awarded $100,000 Vilcek Prize in Music

Born in Benin, Angélique Kidjo is as widely known for her cultural and humanitarian leadership as she is for her powerful music

Angélique Kidjo - Photo courtesy of the Vilcek Foundation

Angélique Kidjo receives a 2023 Vilcek Prize in Music in recognition of her exceptional range as a singer-songwriter, and for her creative leadership in bringing African music to the global stage through her performances, albums, and collaborations. 

"Angélique Kidjo is known for the resonant power of her voice—both as a lyrical storyteller and as an advocate for women and girls in Africa," says Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel. "From captivating audiences at Carnegie Hall and the Grammy Awards to her establishment of the Batonga Foundation to provide African women and girls with access to education, employment, and economic independence, she has forged a path over the past four decades that has inspired generations of performers and advocates." 

In recognition of Kidjo's leadership, the foundation has published a video biography and in-depth profile of the artist and humanitarian available on the foundation's website: Angélique Kidjo: "The power of music exceeds us." 

The Vilcek Prize in Music is a $100,000 prize awarded by the Vilcek Foundation as part of the Vilcek Foundation Prizes. The prizes are awarded annually in recognition and celebration of immigrant vanguards in the arts and in biomedical science whose work has had a profound impact on culture and society. In addition to providing direct support to immigrant artists and scientists, the purpose of the prizes is to build greater awareness of the importance of immigration for intellectual and cultural life in the United States. 

In 2023, the Vilcek Foundation is awarding two Vilcek Prizes in Music—one to Angélique Kidjo, and one to Chinese-born composer and performer Du Yun. The foundation is also awarding three smaller prizes of $50,000 each—the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Music—to young immigrant musicians whose work demonstrates a unique perspective and represents an important contribution to their genre. The recipients of the 2023 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Music are Arooj Aftab (b. Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents), Juan Pablo Contreras (b. Mexico), and Ruby Ibarra (b. Philippines). 

Read more at the Vilcek Foundation: Angélique Kidjo: "The power of music exceeds us."

The Vilcek Foundation

The Vilcek Foundation raises awareness of immigrant contributions in the United States and fosters an appreciation for the arts and sciences. The foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the foundation was inspired by the couple's respective careers in biomedical science and art history. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded over $7 million in prizes to foreign-born individuals and has supported organizations with over $6 million in grants.

The Vilcek Foundation is a private operating foundation, a federally tax-exempt nonprofit organization under IRS Section 501(c)(3). To learn more, please visit

Source: The Vilcek Foundation

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