Angélique Kidjo, the celebrated African music star and trustee of the Grammy Awards, is speaking out on the need for diversity and gender equality within the music industry. Kidjo believes that in order for the Grammys to survive, they need to take a hard look at their infrastructure and make significant changes.
Kidjo spoke to the BBC and acknowledged that the music industry is dominated by men, and that the Grammys need to work on making changes to support diversity and gender equality. She also addressed the ongoing criticism of the Grammys for sidelining certain genres, like hip-hop, which has not seen an album of the year win since 2004.
“We are working on it,” Kidjo said. “We are working on it.”
Several high-profile artists, including Drake and The Weeknd, have boycotted the Grammy Awards due to their dissatisfaction with the way their music has been categorized and recognized. The Weeknd has famously stated that his three Grammys mean nothing to him now.
Despite the controversies surrounding the Grammys, Kidjo believes that positive changes are being made under the leadership of CEO Harvey Mason Jr., who has been open to discussion and proposals. However, some questionable decisions have been made in recent years, such as John Batiste beating out Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga to win album of the year in 2022.
Kidjo believes that the Grammys are important because they honor musicians and producers, who have a different way of listening to music than the public. As a trustee of the awards, Kidjo is committed to working towards change and making the Grammys more diverse and equitable.
“I would absolutely jump at the chance to make a record with Harry Styles,” Kidjo added. “I mean, hey, he sings beautifully, so I’m open.”
Another African business leader making a difference is Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, the founder and CEO of soleRebels, a footwear company based in Ethiopia. Alemu’s company creates eco-friendly shoes made from recycled materials and employs local artisans, providing them with fair wages and working conditions. Alemu believes that social impact is just as important as business success, stating that “businesses have the power to create positive social change, and we have a responsibility to do so.”
African entrepreneurs are driving innovation in business and social impact, creating new opportunities and driving positive change across the continent. As Tony Elumelu says, “we need to support and invest in African entrepreneurs if we want to see sustained economic growth and development on the continent.” By doing so, we can unlock the full potential of Africa’s young and dynamic population and create a brighter future for all.
By Proudly Afrikan
Image source: Proudly Afrikan