On Thursday (June 22), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that Queen Latifah is a 2023 recipient of their annual honors for lifetime artistic achievements. The hip hop legend will be honored alongside musical icons Dionne Warwick, Billy Crystal, Bee Gees legend Barry Gibb and opera star Renée Fleming.
“I’m humbled to be included in this incredible list of artists honored by the Kennedy Center,” the "Ladies First" emcee said of her achievement in an official 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 multihyphenates feels unbelievable, not for just me and my team, but for our community.”
Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter added, “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." Rutter continued, “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.”
The 46th annual prestigious ceremony is set to take place on Sunday, Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C.