Renowned musician and Greensboro native Rhiannon Giddens is among the newest MacArthur "genius" grant recipients. Giddens' work highlights African American contributions to folk and country music.
Giddens is a singer, multi-instrumentalist (playing the fiddle and 5-string banjo), and songwriter who stresses history and social context when it comes to her music.
Her most recent project is the album Freedom Highway, which was released this year. It explores the African-American experience from slavery to the present.
Giddens was co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and has gone on to release solo work, blending traditions of the past with contemporary interpretations. As a MacArthur genius, she'll receive $625,000 over a five-year period. The fellowships are awarded annually to those "individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for even more in the future."