February 14, 2023
Billboard published an article about jazz musicians and composers Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah and Somi Kakoma receiving this year’s Doris Duke Artist Awards. Adjuah (previously known as Christian Scott) and Somi are two of six artists being awarded the newly doubled, unrestricted prize of $550,000. The announcement was made at the Doris Duke Artist Awards 10th Anniversary Celebration at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Feb. 13, 2023, at which Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy-winning hip-hop artist and actor Common was the host. Established in 2012, the Doris Duke Artist Award is the largest national prize dedicated exclusively to individual performing artists.
“Receiving the Doris Duke Artist Award offers me the ability to dedicate more time and care to what I truly love, which in itself is the most valuable gift a person can receive,” Adjuah said. “Not only is this tremendously meaningful for myself, it also puts me in the position to create new opportunities throughout my community. Growing up, I often heard elders use the phrase ‘Take my song and pass it along,’ and I look forward to embodying this spirit in passing along this gift to others.”
“As a proud daughter of immigrants, I have never fit neatly into a ‘here’ or ‘there’—nor has my music,” Somi said. “Receiving this award is affirmation that this journey has not been in vain. Knowing that it was determined by a panel of my peers is especially meaningful—I feel seen, understood, supported, and so very grateful. This award will allow me to pursue or formalize more of my artistic projects on the African continent in spaces where the local cultural economy doesn’t always have the resources in place to support them.”