Education advocate Angelique Kidjo dedicates Grammy Award to women of Africa

Singer and rights campaigner Angelique Kidjo won her second Grammy Award last night – and dedicated it to “the women of Africa”.

Angelique, who is a member of the Global Emergency Coalition for Education Action, was the winner of the year’s best World Music album. At the ceremony in Los Angeles she said: “This album is dedicated to the women of Africa – to their beauty and resilience. Women of Africa, you rock!”

“For me, music is a weapon of peace and today more than ever, as artists we have a role to play in the stability of this world.”

Another member of the emergency education coalition, classical pianist Lang Lang, appeared alongside the singer Pharrell Williams in a special live version of his global smash hit Happy. And the award for Best Children’s Album went to an audio version of I Am Malala – the book by children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

Angelique and Lang Lang with Youth Courage Award winner Rabia Faridi

Angelique, who is from Benin, has been a longtime supporter of education for all and women’s rights. She has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2002 and founded the Batonga Foundation, which helps girls take the lead in changing Africa through scholarships, building schools and other projects.

She has been a regular feature of International Women’s Day events. Last year she was featured in a TV documentary about equal opportunity for girls in education. And in 2013 she performed in London at the Women of the World Festival.

She and Lang Lang attended A World at School’s 2014 September Forum in New York, where they paid tribute to winners of the 2014 Global Education Youth Courage Awards.

Last month, Angelique received the Crystal award for her humanitarian work at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. That came just days after she visited her home country and saw an accelerated course programme in the town of Zakpota, which helps adolescents – mainly girls – who have never had an education or who have dropped out of school.

As part of A World at School’s My Inspirational Teacher series, Angelique revealed that her mother Yvonne had “taught me everything I needed to know about the stage.”

The singer’s Grammy came for her album Eve, for which she travelled through Benin and other parts of Africa, recording the voices of women and the harmonies of female choirs.