Wednesday, August 7, 2019
– Rhiannon Giddens and the late American folk museum Frank Johnson will be honored with the inaugural Legacy of Americana Award.
The award is the creation of the Americana Music Association and the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM).
The museum honors the accomplishments of the many music genres created, influenced and inspired by African Americans.
The awards will be given during the 18th annual Americana Honors & Awards on Sept. 11 at the Ryman Auditorium.
The award honors an artist, writer, producer or educator who has either made a lasting impression through music or inspired art to recognize the legacy of Americana music traditions.
Replicas of the awards will be showcased at the museum, which is scheduled to open in early 2020 in downtown Nashville.
A MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient, Giddens has shared this dedication throughout her career both with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and solo.
Johnson was a traveling fiddle musician and brass band leader of the most well-known group in his home state of North Carolina during the 19th century. He did in the late 1800s.
"African American artists play pivotal roles in the tapestry of Americana music," said H. Beecher Hicks III, CEO and President of NMAAM. "Through the Legacy of Americana Award and our new partnership with the Association, we hope to shine a light on forgotten artists like Frank Johnson, whose stories may have been lost to history, and on innovators like Rhiannon Giddens, who is pushing Americana and American music forward by exploring the past."
"We are honored to partner with the National Museum of African American Music and present the first Legacy of Americana Award to Rhiannon Giddens and Frank Johnson," said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. "Without a legacy, art would not outlive its creator. These two exemplary artists embody the spirit of this award. Furthermore, it is imperative to continue celebrating those who have made lasting impressions or have inspired art that recognizes the legacy of Americana music traditions, and this honor is a rightful step in the direction of preserving that history."