Ghanaian-born Blitz the Ambassador Wins Prize for Immigrant Contributions
NEW YORK, February 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Vilcek Foundation (http://www.vilcek.org) is pleased to announce Mr. Samuel Bazawule, AKA Blitz the Ambassador, as one of three winners of the 2013 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Contemporary Music. The prizes honor young immigrants who have demonstrated exceptional early accomplishment, and whose careers contribute to the American arts and sciences. The prize includes a $35,000 cash prize.
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“I never thought my background as an Ghanaian immigrant would give me an advantage in hip-hop. But somehow, as the world becomes more global, so has hip-hop,” said Blitz. “My goal is to continue to push more global voices in hip-hop through collaborations and tours. Hip-hop gave me a voice, and I intend to use it to give others a voice.”
Blitz is being recognized for his work as an MC, composer, and producer. As his stage name suggests, he is a cultural emissary, seeking the intersections between American hip-hop and West African musical traditions, citing amongst his influences Highlife, funk, and Afrobeat music, and rapping just as fluently in Twi as in English. Blitz is backed by a horn section, known as the Embassy Ensemble, and has collaborated with a number of well-known artists from both Africa and America, including Les Nubians, Chuck D, Shad, and Cornielle.
Mr. Bazawule has released two albums, Stereotype in 2009, and Native Sun in 2011. Stereotype reached the top 10 of the iTunes’ hip-hop albums within the first week of release. Mr. Bazawule also wrote and co-directed a short film as an accompaniment to Native Sun, of the same name, which was filmed in Ghana and tells the story of a young boy searching for his father in Accra. The movie was a selection of the Brooklyn ActNow Film Festival. He is currently working on his third album, Afropolitan Dreams.
Mr. Bazawule is being honored alongside the other recipients of the Vilcek Prizes in Contemporary Music. Internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma received the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music for career achievements; it comes with a $100,000 cash prize. Songwriter James “JHart” Abrahart, and pianist and composer Tigran, are the other two recipients of the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Contemporary Music. They will receive their prizes during an awards ceremony in April in New York City.
In addition to prizes in the arts, the Vilcek Foundation also awards prizes in biomedical science. For more information, please visit http://www.vilcek.org.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the Vilcek Foundation.
The Vilcek Foundation (http://www.vilcek.org) is dedicated to raising awareness of immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences.
For questions, contact Joyce Li at (212) 472-2500 or at [email protected]