Thursday, December 2

“The dreams we have for our children are the same across the board,” said Angelique Kidjo.


Recognized as one of the 100 most inspiring women in the world, award-winning singer-songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo has been called ‘Africa’s premier diva’. On this episode of Interview, Euronews’ Jane Witherspoon caught up with the singer after her recent performance. at the opening of the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, to discuss her music, passions and work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews: “This is the first time the World’s Fair has been held in the Middle East. What is the meaning of that?

Angelique Kidjo: “I think it is time for it to be done here … and for the African countries, for everyone to be here, it is also the beginning of a new era because Africa is on the move, it is on the rise. A lot A lot is happening in Africa. and I’m happy to see that this Expo is taking it into account and the world is following it, watching it expand. “

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews: “One of the [Expo] themes is connecting minds. What does that mean for you personally, as well as for Africa?

Angelique Kidjo: “Well [connecting] minds, I’ve been doing it since I started singing basically. I started to build, to try to build cultural bridges through my music, through collaboration, and because since I was a child I felt that if you don’t know something, you always make mistakes. If you are informed when you speak, whatever you do, you think about it differently. And I have been traveling all over the world and I have realized that we are not that different from each other because all the people on this earth are born to a father and a mother. Never mind [what] skin you have, the needs we have and the dreams we have for our children are the same in all areas. He has no language, no color, no nationality. And for me, my music is what it is and we have to connect the world and minds in the future. We need to take that into account to practice treating everyone equally, without judging and putting wealth standards ahead of people’s minds and creativity. “

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews: “We have one hundred and ninety-two countries gathered in Dubai for this Expo. And I think now more than ever, we really need it after the last few years the world has had!

Angelique Kidjo: “I think after the pandemic … during the pandemic, we began to realize that we are not alone. That we cannot live alone. It takes a virus to remind us that, for our sake and for our future together, we have to live. together. No matter where we live, we are connected. And we are also realizing that together we are stronger. Together we can tackle the main problems we have. And today, climate change is also pushing the door. becoming a reality. it is not poor countries that are suffering from climate change … it has affected Germany, the United States, Europe in general. And this is just the beginning. “

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews: “One of the other issues you are an avid activist for is the education of women and girls. Why is that so important to you and what remains to be done?”

Angelique Kidjo: “Well, you know, after I was nominated as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2002. And the first question I asked was, ” What does it mean to be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador? ” And I said specifically, I’m not good at small talk, and I’m not good at shaking hands with politicians, because I always open my mouth and get in trouble. So this is what you want to do. I said women’s empowerment, girls’ education, education And as we started, I realized from the first trip I made in Tanzania that women and girls from all over Africa are the ones who sustain society. I always say that African women are the backbone of that continent, and that is also true everywhere. Without women, what would society be like? We cannot continue. We cannot afford to put aside 50, more than 50 percent of the world’s population and think that [society] it will work. And I realized that when empowering girls through education, sometimes it is not education that they need. [what] what they need is start-up financing for their business. You see the domino effect in three months. They create jobs. Life is better. They start saving money for their children’s school, the future children they are going to have. Your family and community. Practically to fight poverty. To address most of the issues that we are talking about. ”

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews: ” You have had a formidable career. Music is obviously your first love and you have won many awards. What do those awards mean to you? “

Angelique Kidjo: “It is a responsibility. It means that I have to work harder and that I am probably on the right track by using my voice for the sake of our humanity. I sit here and every part of my body is everywhere because I always say: yes someone is suffering somewhere, I am suffering. If people cannot eat, if children keep going to bed without eating, it is a shame for everyone. There is enough food on this planet to feed everyone. so much food that we should be ashamed of not being aware of the fact that there are people who, as we speak now, have not eaten even once a day today. And those things are a constant daily concern for me, because I know we have the solutions. We know we can change it. Here we are, connecting the mind, creating the future. We cannot connect the mind. We cannot create a future if our children are sick. No children [should] go to school [with an] empty belly and not understanding anything … these are very simple things that we have not been able to contribute. ”

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews: ” You said that you use your music to create cultural bridges. Why are the arts and music in particular so important to society and so universal? ”

Angelique Kidjo: “Well let’s see … the beginning of this pandemic. What happened? People stayed at the windows, sang … cheering for health workers. Because music is a universal language and I have been in an environment where I’ve been working with orchestras. where no two people speak the same language. And from the moment we drop the words and start using music, we all speak the same language. And there is no humanity without music … “


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