Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick will be among Kennedy Center honorees

by JAY LUSTIG
latifah kennedy center honors

Dionne Warwick and Queen Latifah.

New Jerseyans Queen Latifah and Dionne Warwick will receive Kennedy Center Honors this year, along with Billy Crystal, Barry Gibb (of The Bee Gees) and Renée Fleming. The award ceremony, hosted by Gloria Estefan, will take place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 3, airing live on CBS television and streaming on Paramount+.

Queen Latifah joins L.L. Cool J as the second hip-hop artist to receive this honor, though both are known as actors as well as rappers.

Latifah said in a statement: “When we started on this journey decades ago, we were often told, ‘No.’ No, you won’t be able to leave New Jersey. No, if you rap you can’t sing. No, singers can’t become actresses. No, actors can’t also produce. To now be recognized amongst so many multi-hyphenates feels unbelievable, not for just me and my team, but for our community.”

Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter said, in a statement: “This year we pay special tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip hop, a uniquely American culture whose constant evolution is one of enduring relevance and impact, reflecting our society as it has grown into an international phenomenon. Hip hop has been an important, thriving art form here at the Center for a number of years; what a privilege it is to bestow an Honors to the First Lady of Hip Hop who has inspired us along the way.”

Gibb’s brothers and Bee Gees partners Maurice and Robin died in 2003 and 2012, respectively. “I wish my brothers were here so that they could’ve shared in this special moment,” said Barry Gibb, in a statement.

For more information, visit kennedy-center.org/whats-on/honors.

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