The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced that Gladys Knight and U2 are among the honorees who will be recognized at the 45th Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements.
Besides the beloved R&B singer and alternative band, other honorees include the “Queen of Christian Pop” Amy Grant, actor and director George Clooney, and the Cuban-born composer, conductor, and educator Tania León. Last year's honorees included singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, Motown founder Berry Gordy, entertainer Bette Midler, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, and operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz.
Since the Kennedy Center Honors focused entirely on individuals until 2008, U2 is just the fifth band to receive the honor. Previous bands that received the honor are: The Who (2008), Led Zeppelin (2012), Eagles (2016), and Earth, Wind & Fire (2019).
As for Knight, she is the fifth Motown Records alumnus to receive the honor. Stevie Wonder (1999), Smokey Robinson (2006), Diana Ross (2007), Lionel Richie (2017), and Berry Gordy have been honored previously.
Both Gladys Knight and U2 gave statements about their honors.
Gladys Knight stated:
"I’m humbled beyond words to be included amongst this prestigious group of individuals, both past and present. You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honored on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these—it just wouldn’t have seemed possible. It would have been the dream of all dreams. I have been blessed with so much in my life and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list. To be honored as a Kennedy Center Honoree is among the highlights of my career. I stand here with my fans, my family, my friends, my team, and my faith in accepting such an amazing distinction. It is dedicated to all those who paved the path for me to be able to accomplish the wonderful blessings I’ve been able to receive. The Kennedy Center’s commitment to the arts is unparalleled and I am so very grateful for this moment."
In December 1980, we made our first trip across the Atlantic to America. Our first show was at the Ritz in New York City, the second, The Bayou in D.C. We had big dreams then, fueled in part by the commonly held belief at home that America smiles on Ireland. And it turned out to be true, yet again. But even in the wilder thoughts, we never imagined that 40 years on, we would be invited back to receive one of the nation’s greatest honours…. It has been a four-decade love affair with the country and its people, its artists, and culture. We consider America to be a home away from home and we are very grateful to the Kennedy Center Honors for welcoming us into this great clan of extraordinary artists.
The 45th Kennedy Center Honors ceremony is set for December 4 in Washington, D.C. and will broadcast live on Paramount+ and at a later date on CBS.
See this year's honoree announcement below.
Announcing your 45th Kennedy Center Honorees! 🤩🌈✨— The Kennedy Center (@kencen) July 21, 2022
⭐ #GeorgeClooney ⭐
⭐ @AmyGrant ⭐
⭐ @MsGladysKnight ⭐
⭐ #TaniaLeón ⭐
⭐ @U2 ⭐
Celebrate these incredible artists this Dec. with a #KCHonors broadcast to follow on @CBS ▶ https://t.co/omAfV68lkU#KennedyCenterHonors pic.twitter.com/T3Fp1Cp1qS
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