US-based Rwandan singer and songwriter Somi on Sunday won an award at the 49th National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) NAACP Image Awards in the non-televised categories.
She was announced during a gala dinner celebration at the Pasadena Conference Center in Los Angeles, United States.
Winners in each of the 47 categories were honoured for their outstanding achievements in motion pictures, television, music, and literature.
Born Laura Kabasomi Kakoma to Rwandan and Ugandan parents, the 38-year-old singer’s album, Petite Afrique (loosely translated as ‘Little Africa’), won the award in the category of Outstanding Jazz Album of the Year, beating off competition from Damien Escobar’s ‘Boundless’, Cécile McLorin Salvant’s ‘Dreams and Daggers’, Najee’s ‘Poetry In Motion’, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s ‘So It Is’.
“Thank you to NAACP Image Awards, my co-producers Keith Witty and Etienne Charles, and all the beautiful musicians who played on the album. In my speech, I dedicated the award to my wonderful parents who sacrificed so much to give me so much. I am so grateful for this moment and deeply humbled,” Somi reacted on her Instagram account after scooping the award.
Somi has built a career of transatlantic sonicism and storytelling. Petite Afrique Somi’s sophomore effort for Sony Music is a daring, relevant and refashioning of what “jazz” and “African music” mean both singularly and to each other.
‘Petite Afrique’ is the highly anticipated follow-up to Somi’s last chart-topping album and major label debut The Lagos Music Salon, which was inspired by an 18-month creative sabbatical in Lagos, Nigeria and features Angelique Kidjo and Common landed at #1 on US Jazz charts.
In 2011, Somi, who was at the time in Kigali for her festive season vacation, released her first live album of performances at the venerable Jazz Standard in New York City.
NAACP Awards are organised with a mission to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.
This year’s awards featured a number of high-profile artistes in the US music industry, including Kendrik Lamar, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Tiffany Haddish.