Angelique Kidjo is a perennial nominee and, in 2020 the winner of her fourth Grammy for Best World Music Album. She also has a keen awareness of what her platform as one of the best-known and most-acclaimed African artists in America affords her, and on one of the biggest stages in the music business, took the opportunity to shout out her fellow nominee and rising—risen?—star, the Nigerian artist Burna Boy.
“Four years ago on this stage I was telling that the new generation of artists from African is going to take you by storm,” she said while accepting her Grammy. “The time has come. This is for Burna Boy. Burna Boy is among the young artists that come from Africa that is changing the way our continent is perceived and the way African music has been the bedrock of every music.”
The Grammy-winning album itself is Kidjo's celebration of another artist, the Cuban singer Celia Cruz. Kidjo's Celia “pay[s] homage to this incredible voice and those songs that reunite with their juju and Afrobeat roots,” per Kidjo's website, as it takes the threads of Yoruba culture that Cuban music carries and draws those lines more clearly through Kidjo's own incredible voice and sharp arrangements.
The Grammy audience—in person but apparently not on television—was treated to a live performance of “Afirika” from the album.
And Kidjo wasn't the only artist we love who walked away with hardware at the 2020 Grammys. The South Carolina Low Country Gullah band Ranky Tanky won the Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album for their second recording, Good Time.
I'm sure we'll be hearing more from all of these artists; as Kidjo said, "the time has come."