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The post 45th Kennedy Center Honors to Celebrate U2, George Clooney, Gladys Knight appeared first on Consequence.
The 45th annual Kennedy Center Honors will celebrate the artistic and humanitarian achievements of U2, George Clooney, and in a move that many would argue is long overdue, Gladys Knight. As the Washington Post reports, the December 4th event will also laud the “Queen of Christian Pop” Amy Grant and composer-conductor Tania León.
In discussing the honorees, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter emphasized their philanthropic and educational contributions. “In each case, these are artists who are doing more than being performers. They are artists as citizens who are giving back and making the world a better place through art,” she said. “It’s about art for life’s sake. These artists are a mirror to who we are.”
She also addressed the inclusion of Knight, noting that many people had been asking, ‘What took so long?’ “There are a lot of people on the ‘What took so long?’ list,” she said. “That’s why this is so hard. There are so many deserving artists.”
Gladys Knight even performed at the Kennedy Center Honors last year, covering honoree Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free.” “I had loads of fun at that performance,” she said. “I was so excited that they thought about making me a part of that.” Knight, who headlined a Kennedy Center diabetes benefit in 2002, added, “I like all kinds of music, to be honest. Country and gospel have always been the two that I go to.”
For Clooney’s part, he said, “Growing up in a small town in Kentucky I could never have imagined that someday I’d be the one sitting in the balcony at the Kennedy Center Honors. To be mentioned in the same breath with the rest of these incredible artists is an honor. This is a genuinely exciting surprise for the whole Clooney family.”
U2 added in a statement that they couldn’t believe how far the band had come since their first performance in the US in 1980. “We had big dreams then, fueled in part by the commonly held belief at home that America smiles on Ireland. 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 Kennedy Center Honors takes place over a weekend that includes a private dinner where honorees receive the iconic rainbow medals, as well as a televised event with a top-secret group of guest performers, which is followed by a fundraising gala.