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U2, George Clooney, Gladys Knight lead list of Kennedy Center Honorees

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The members of U2, actor George Clooney, singers Gladys Knight and Amy Grant, and conductor Tania León are joining an exclusive club, as the next Kennedy Center Honorees.

The Washington performing arts institution announced the recipients of its prestigious Kennedy Center Honors prize on Thursday. The awards, which are given for “lifetime artistic achievements,” will handed out at the Kennedy Center’s 45th annual ceremony at a later date, and will air as a TV special during the 2022-2023 season on CBS.

Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter noted that the award “esteems an artist’s cumulative body of work and influence over many decades.”

Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein commended each of this year’s Honorees in a statement, praising “Ocean’s Eleven” star Clooney for his “unique brand of earnest charisma” and U2 — including members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. — for their music that features “potent lyrics and powerful messages of social justice and global citizenship.”

Rubenstein lauded Grant for bringing “contemporary Christian music to the forefront of American culture,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” songstress Knight for “showcasing a boundless vocal range and soulfulness that has stood the test of time.”

León, a Cuban refugee-turned-Pulitzer Prize winner, has “blessed America for more than five decades with her astoundingly original compositions,” Rubenstein said.

The Honors became a source of controversy in 2017, when several of that year’s recipients — including famed producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — said they would skip a traditional White House reception in protest of then-President Trump.

While a sitting commander in chief has typically attended the Honors gala, Trump skipped the Honors throughout his entire presidency.

President Biden renewed the tradition last year, meeting with the Kennedy Center Honors recipients at the White House.

Past Kennedy Center Honorees include Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, Lucille Ball, James Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Bette Midler, among others.

Tags Biden David Rubenstein George Clooney George Clooney Gladys Knight Kennedy Center Kennedy Center Honorees Trump U2
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