Secretary Of State Antony Blinken Performs Muddy Waters’ ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ To Kick Off Global Music Diplomacy Initiative

Secretary of State Tony Blinken kicked off a new state department global music diplomacy initiative by showing off his own skills as a singer-guitarist.

After delivering remarks at a State Department event, Blinken said that it would not be complete “without a little bit of blues,” before playing and singing the Muddy Waters classic “Hoochie Coochie Man.” Watch below.

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The State Department on the diplomacy initiative, which is designed to highlight music as a diplomatic tool in foreign policy, includes the Recording Academy as a partner. An American music mentorship program will bring international music industry professionals for mentorship and other opportunities. The first will be held in fall 2024.

Also announced was the Fulbright-Kennedy Center Visiting Scholar Award in Arts in Science, focusing on the intersection of arts and science. The competition will be announced in fall 2023, and the Kennedy Center will host the first scholar in 2024-25.

The State Department also will incorporate music into English-language learning overseas, and the diplomacy initiative will include oversees programming with arts envoys, including Herbie Hancock and the Dee Dee Bridgewater ensemble performing in Jordan in October. The tour then will go to Saudi Arabia for a first-of-its-kind program in that country. Ten American bands will travel to 30 countries starting in October, and the AMA Academy Cleveland will host young musicians from Ukraine in November.

Blinken and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. also announced a Peace Through Music Award, with Quincy Jones as the inaugural recipient.

Mason said that the initiative will “promote peace and cross-cultural understanding through music while continuing our mission to lift up music people around the globe.” Also part of the initiative is YouTube and Google. In a statement, its global head of music Lyor Cohen said that the initiative “creates a new avenue for us” to raise artists’ voices “and drive global music diplomacy forward; breaking down cultural barriers and fostering peace through music.”

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