It Was Gladys’ Night: Musical Icon Gladys Knight Gets Her Rainbow Ribbon at Kennedy Center Honors

The Empress of Soul deserves her flowers.

On Sunday, seven-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight was honored at the 45th Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., along with a list of other notable honorees who were recognized for their contributions to American culture.

“Look at all these people in here, and we’re all here for the same reason. To lift things up, to [try] to have some joy and all of that, and that’s what it’s all about,” Knight said, according to Fox News.

“This is amazing. This is about the world. This is not just about me or some other person that has feelings about making things better, but the fact that they even allow themselves to do something like that is amazing,” she added, excited to see everyone celebrating positivity.


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It was Gladys’ night but the icon outlined the love she holds for her “sister” Patti LaBelle, who paid tribute to her during the ceremony.

According to the outlet, the two Hollywood icons, who have shared the stage together multiple times, have a friendship that spans over six decades.

“That’s my little sister. We have been together since we were like this,” 78-year-old Knight told Fox News Digital. “Every now and then, things get a little rough. We got kids, we both had children the same time.”

LaBelle, who is also 78 years old, described Knight as her “everything” as she took the stage and reflected on their decades-long friendship of tears and laughter.

“We do everything together,” LaBelle said.

LaBelle shared the memorable moments before she gave a performance of “That’s What Friends Are For.”

The tribute for Knight also included performances by Garth Brooks, Mickey Guyton and Ariana DeBose, who sang some of Knight’s most popular hits, such as “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

Actor George Clooney, who is a fan who admires Knight weighed in on the memories from a State Department dinner held Saturday night where the honorees received medallions.

“Gladys got up and sang and, you know, just a cappella started to sing.”

“The only thing that was terrible was that I had to follow,” Clooney continued. “So there’s 300 people in the room going, this is transcendent — and I’m like ‘God, this is horrible! I have [to] follow Gladys Knight!”

Other honorees at the ceremony included Amy Grant, Tania León and U2. Additionally a long list of notable people were in attendance including Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Brandi Carlile, President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Douglass Emhoff.

Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul, who was attacked at their home a month ago, were also among those attending the gala, and received a standing ovation.