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Kenyan artiste Muthoni Drummer Queen among 2019 TED Fellows

Musician and cultural maverick Muthoni Drummer Queen has been selected as a TED Fellow, joining a class of 20 change-makers from around the world to deliver a talk on the TED stage this April in Vancouver, Canada.

Muthoni was selected for her work in developing the cultural landscape in East Africa through her barrier-breaking, genre bending music, as well as her game-changing music festivals Blankets & Wine and Africa Nouveau.

The Suzie Noma hitmaker is also known for changing consumption of music with all music festivals Blankets & Wine and Africa Nouveau.

“I am very excited to be selected as a TED fellow, and to join a global community of thought leaders and doers. After 10 years in music and culture, and based on research and data, it is clear that the creative sector is a legitimate manufacturing industry in Kenya, and Africa,” the elated rapper posted on social media.


“My work is really about freedom, which is a deeply spiritual and political idea. By exercising my freedom to think and create for myself without too much concern for industry norms or ideals I intend to inspire my idols, peers and fans to exercise their freedom to pursue their own ideals and create their own norms,” she added.

Founded in 2009, the TED Fellows program has 472 Fellows from 96 countries, whose talks have been viewed more than 250 million times overall. In its 10-year history, the TED Fellows program has created a powerful, far-reaching network made up of scientists, doctors, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, journalists and beyond.

Among some of the notable Africans to be named TED Fellows are Kenya’s Afrofusion artiste Blinky Bill and renowned photographer Mutua Matheka.

As a TED Fellow, Muthoni Drummer Queen joins a community of international change-makers including Perry Chen, the artist who co-founded Kickstarter; Amanda Nguyen, the activist whose organization RISE helped write the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights and Essam Daod, the psychiatrist who founded Humanity Crew to provide psychological aid to refugees.