Rhiannon Giddens Receives $625,000 MacArthur Foundation 'Genius Grant'

Rhiannon Giddens
Tanya Rosen Jones

Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens is among the 24 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grants." The 40 year-old Greensboro, North Carolina, singer/songwriter and co-founder of the Grammy-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops will receive a five-year grant of $625,000, which is intended to allow the recipient to pursue his or her work without financial concern. 

Giddens was featured on country singer Eric Church's track "Kill A Word," which the two performed together at the 2016 Country Music Awards and she released her acclaimed second solo album, Freedom Highway, in February.

In awarding Giddens with one of its grants -- which this year also went to painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby, playwright Annie Baker, composer Tyshawn Sorey and author Jesmyn Ward -- the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation praised the singer for "reclaiming African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present."