The Artist As Activist: A Passion for Freedom and Social Justice
An Evening with Angelique Kidjo: Talk, Performance, Q&A
“I believe music is a language beyond the color of skin, country or culture. I want to inspire people to work to help educate, nourish and protect our children.” – Angélique Kidjo
As a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer, “Africa’s premier diva,” and one of the greatest artists in international music today, Angélique Kidjo is committed to using her voice and influence as a philanthropist and human rights activist. A Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and co-founder of the Batonga Foundation, Kidjo is an active campaigner, traveling widely to raise awareness, speak on behalf of the poor, and as a champion of women and children around the world. Her public service announcements on the need to educate all children, to eradicate polio and to increase support for children affected by HIV/AIDS have helped bring greater attention to these issues.
In this talk interjected with music and ending with a facilitated Q&A with the audience, Kidjo discusses the responsibility of artists to use their platform for social justice, the many ways we can all give back, and the enormous impact each of us can make in the world, whether or not we are a global star.
Kidjo invented the word “batonga” as a defiant response to classmates and critics who told her that girls did not belong in school. Today, the Batonga Foundation makes a data-driven effort to equip Benin’s most vulnerable girls with the knowledge and skills they need to become agents of change in their communities and in their own lives. From fair trade initiatives and curbing climate change, to urging a ceasefire in war-torn Sudan, Kidjo has proven that artists can be the best agents for change with their unbound imagination and unique way of envisioning the world.
With the strength of her voice, the power of her words, and the intensity of her performance, Kidjo shares a message that not only transcends language, it connects the entire world. As a performer, Kidjo's striking voice, stage presence and fluency in multiple cultures and languages have won respect from her peers and expanded her following across national borders. A creative force with 13 albums to her name, Kidjo’s music cross-pollinates the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America.
Tickets $30-35 advance, $35-40 door. All seating reserved. OSU students free with ID (limited to 100 tickets). Corvallis Arts for All discounts apply, allowing purchase of up to two tickets for $5 each with presentation of valid SNAP/Oregon Trail Card. Student and CAFA tickets subject to availability. For accommodations relating to a disability please call 541-737-5592, preferably at least one week in advance.
Other MLK Celebration Events: The celebration week runs from Jan. 19-25. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, author and advocate for social justice is the keynote speaker for the 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration lecture on Mon., Jan. 21, at 11 a.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center. Through Dec. 5, free tickets are available to OSU faculty, staff and students for the Jan. 21 peace breakfast and the keynote session. Beginning Dec. 6, keynote session tickets will be available to the general public. To register and for a full list of events, visit https://diversity.oregonstate.edu/mlk.