Rhiannon Giddens

2020 YBCA 100 Honoree

Rhiannon Giddens is a celebrated artist who excavates the past to reveal truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens has been Grammy-nominated six times and won for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She was nominated in 2020 for there is no Other (2019) with Francesco Turrisi, an album that is a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience. She has performed for the Obamas at the White House, acted in two seasons of the hit television series Nashville, and has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, The New York Times, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among other outlets. She is featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music PBS series and was recently named Artistic Director of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble. Giddens formed the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players. Their album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019) tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Pitchfork wrote of her that “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.”