Q+A With 2016 Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo

 Post by Thandie.

Angelique and her Grammy

Angelique and her Grammy

I had the enormous privilege of meeting Beninoise singer and 2016 Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo the first time I watched her perform live. I helped host an event for the Stephen Lewis Foundation in 2012 (an organization very close to my heart – as is its founder Stephen). Angelique shared the stage with a galaxy of incredible performers that night , including Annie Lennox and Sarah McLachlan. They were all magnificent, but I want to single out Angelique (as I’m certain Sarah and Annie would do themselves). Angelique is a force. On stage (and in life) she embodies all that is extraordinary about being alive. She is a tornado of  joyous, powerful, ravenous energy – reaching into the heavens and tearing off a chunk of the divine for all of us to share. She ignites every person in whatever space they discover her in. She is so beautiful it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

On top of the massive international demand for Angelique’s appearances, she devotes a great deal of her time serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and working hard to sustain the Batonga Foundation which she founded. Her foundation creates life-changing opportunities for African girls by providing higher education in areas which are compromised by poverty, disease or lack of infrastructure.

The Guardian listed her as one of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World, and Forbes magazine lists her as one of the 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa. Make every effort you can to find and experience this glorious woman’s voice and passion.

If you do she might be performing alongside Alicia Keyes, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Carlos Santana, John Legend (every great artist wants to share the stage with Angelique Kidjo). One of my all time claims to fame will be the night we met. Angelique’s band were still rocking out during the applause, and all us performers were on stage for the close of the show. Angelique spotted me at the side of the stage, (doing my ‘elegant grind’  he he) and curled her finger to join her at the centre. GIRL! I took that magic carpet and will never forget tearing up centre stage with Angelique Kidjo – feeling a tiny speck of the power she orchestrates at the centre of everything (the picture of us below was backstage afterwards- no wonder!) Unforgettable.  I wish you’d all been there.  Well, you can be, go find Angelique. Be touched by greatness.

AK_PressShot11. What is your earliest make-up memory?

When I was six, I would hang around the theatre troupe of my mom and watch the actresses put on their make up. I would take white chalk with water and put it on my face to look like them.

 2. I feel most beautiful when…

When I walk on stage at the beginning of my concert with my microphone and my fancy stage clothes.


Anjelique Kidjo ThandieKay.com

 3. When you were a child, what was your Mother’s beauty routine?

She would wash her face with homemade black soap and would put traditional powered kohl under her eyes. Then she would carefully wrap her head with a colorful fabric.


 4. Is make-up a chore or a delight?

As I am a kind of a tomboy, it is a chore for me but it is necessary for my profession. I like when I look good but I hate the work it demands! I can’t wait to remove it when I am offstage!

Photo Matt Kimora

Photo Matt Kimora

 5. Did your father refer to your Mother’s beauty, and how?

My father likes the natural beauty of my mother. He used to tell us when you’re beautiful you don’t need much make up. He used to refer to women with too much make up as “war painted faces”

 6. What’s been your worst beauty mishap?

Once I did an eyebrow wax in a beauty salon but they burnt my skin and I had a scar for a few weeks!

I’ll never try that again…

 7. If you could give one beauty gift what would it be?

I would give a very good face hydrating cream or lotion. I always take a lot of care with my skin, I have so many different creams, it drives my husband crazy! But what do men know about our stuff?

 8. Where’s the craziest place you’ve done your make-up?

In a dressing room with no mirror and no table and no light. The tour manager was holding his flash light for me and I was using my suitcase as a table… We have to be creative!

 9. What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry?

More natural and hypoallergenic products and less dangerous chemicals such as Phenoxyethanol and Paraben. I would love more diversity for every skin color also. Beauty products should be more affordable to everybody.

10. When was the last time your mascara ran, and why?

You know what? I only wear waterproof mascara on stage so I can’t remember the last time it happened!


Angelique, Thandie etc

Jian Ghomeshi, Angelique, Stephen Lewis, Sarah Mc Lachlan & Thandie. Photo Cameron MacLennan

Follow the force of nature that is Angelique on twitter

Please take a look at Angelique’s Batonga Foundation . You can follow this wonderful organisation on @BatongaTweets


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  1. customcakebaker.com…

    Q+A With 2016 Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo | ThandieKay…

    February 28, 2016 at 4:24 pm

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