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Angélique Kidjo
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Angélique Kidjo
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Three-time Grammy Award-winning singer, activist, and humanitarian Angélique Kidjo electrifies audiences around the world with the strength of her voice, the power of her words, and the intensity of her performance. Spirit Rising, Angélique’s memoir, embodies her vibrant personality with “a dramatic soulful mix of text, photos, and song lyrics.” One of The Guardian's 100 most inspiring women in the world, Angélique speaks out for human rights and female empowerment as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and through op-eds for CNN and The New York Times.

Angélique Kidjo’s career began in the West African country of Benin, where she would perform with her mother’s theater troupe at age six. However, when the Communist takeover of Benin threatened her artistic expression, she fled to France, and later, New York City.

12 albums and three Grammys later, she has sold out Carnegie Hall, has topped the Billboard charts, has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Bono, and Philip Glass, and has been personally requested to perform by President Barack Obama. Her success and talents know no bounds.

"I work with everyone who believes that music is the tool of peace,” said Angélique. “For me, music is the only form of art that connects the entire world.”

Her 2014 memoir, Spirit Rising, includes a forward by Desmond Tutu and an introduction from Alicia Keys. Publishers Weekly called the book “a beautifully told tale of courage and determination, revealing an expansive life that proves ‘music has no color, no language, no boundaries.’”

With UNICEF, Angelique raises awareness for such causes as gender equality, education, and conservation. Celebrating her exceptional courage in standing up to injustice, Amnesty International honored her with the 2016 Ambassador of Conscience Award.

Inspired by the high value her father placed on schooling, she founded the Batonga Foundation in 2007, providing secondary education for girls across Africa and empowering the female leaders of tomorrow. Opening the 2015 World Economic Forum at Davos, Angelique received the Crystal Award, which honors individuals who improve the state of the world through art.

Sir David Frost, Christine Amanpour, and Bill Moyers have all interviewed her, and recently, she co-starred in the Nollywood movie The CEO, directed by one of Africa’s most acclaimed filmmakers.

Full Bio >
  • Angelique Kidjo singing Redemption Song at the Dedication Ceremony of the NMAACH (2016)
  • Lecture, Storytelling, and Song — Kidjo on empowerment, leadership (2015)
  • kidjo fulton speech royce carlton
    Kidjo Gives Fulton Lecture at Middlebury College (2013)
  • Kidjo on Celebrating sisterhood and our shared humanity (2015)
  • Al Jazeera Interview: 'Africa is not just diseases' (2014)
  • Kidjo talks social justice and development strategies in Africa (2015)
  • Grammy Acceptance Speech for Eve (2015)
  • Angelique talks Africa, her career, Nelson Mandela and her new book (2014)
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Speaking Topics

Angelique Kidjo is a world class musician who is happy to include songs in any of her speaking engagements.

Read More >
Spirit Rising: Live Your Dreams
Education is Hope: Investing in the Future
Give Her Wings: Teach Girls & Empower Women
Books & Other Works
  • Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music
  • Exclusive Interview with New African Woman
  • Sings
  • Eve
  • Logozo
  • Õÿö
  • Oyaya!
  • Oremi
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“Thank you again for coming to Seattle for our Inspire Luncheon last week. The reviews just keep coming in and everyone LOVED Angélique and were very inspired and uplifted by her infectious positive energy and powerful voice!”
YWCA Seattle
“I write with warmest thanks for Angélique’s extraordinary appearances at Harvard. The lecture was both provocative and filled with musical pleasures; plus, the audience was exceptionally large and diverse. Then yesterday’s various activities unfolded with a beautiful rhythm, from the class discussion to the lunch with undergraduate students to the master class — and blow-out performance! — at the end of the day. Our students were hugely fortunate to have this experience, and they realized it. Both of you were generous in time and spirit.”
Harvard University
“Angelique was a dream keynote speaker. Everything I could have asked for, and more. So easy to work with, warm, great with the crowd. She did an amazing job singing and getting the crowd up and dancing, and her story, her words created thought and inspired many. She was fabulous!”
Bay Path University
“Angelique was amazing. The school was still buzzing yesterday when I visited. What an extraordinary talent and inspiration.”
Eli's House
“I believe that art is a prime facilitator of truth, and those who have come to embrace this have always enhanced our humanity. Angelique Kidjo is such an artist, using her work and her growing fame to change the way the world views Africa. She helps raise the profile of social causes. Beyond her music, she uses the upheaval of her childhood, in Benin, as the backbone for Batonga, her nonprofit effort to help educate young African women. Most artists talk about doing good, few go out and do it. Angelique Kidjo is one of them.
Harry Belafonte in Vanity Fair
“This inspiring memoir is as much about the author’s love for family and homeland as it is about music … readers will be enamored of this beautifully told tale of courage and determination, revealing an expansive life that proves ‘music has no color, no language, no boundaries.'
Publishers Weekly
“Spinning a dramatic soulful mix of text, photos, song lyrics, and even family recipes, Grammy-winning West African-born Angelique Kidjo … takes us from her first vocal performance … to her current life as a world-pop-chart-topping singer-songwriter, humanitarian activist, and UNICEF goodwill ambassador.
“Angélique is an inspiration to others with her message that, yes, the sky is the limit.
Desmond Tutu
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