Queen Latifah ‘In Shock’ At Being First Female Emcee Honored At Kennedy Center

Queen Latifah ‘In Shock’ At Being First Female Emcee Honored At Kennedy Center

History has been made in this year’s list of Kennedy Center honorees. Queen Latifah will be the first female emcee to be honored for lifetime artistic achievement by the center during its 2023 program on Dec. 3.

The Washington, D.C. ceremony, held and televised from the Kennedy Center Opera House, has spotlighted artists whose craft and contributions have made a significant impact on American culture since 1978.

Queen Latifah will be featured as the Kennedy Center pays homage to hip-hop’s 50-year anniversary, as detailed by CBS News.

In a statement announcing the former rapper’s induction into the center’s prestigious Honorees list, Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center, praised the emcee’s art and work.

“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,” shared Rutter.

Latifah’s fellow honorees are comedian Billy Crystal, five-time Grammy winner Renée Fleming, singer and producer Barry Gibb, and vocalist and host Dionne Warwick. Latifah is the sole performer with a background in rap and hip-hop among the honorees, and only the second rapper in the show’s history to ever be chosen, as LL Cool J was the first, selected in 2017.

According to The New York Times, the “Equalizer” star was “in shock” when she found out about the news while in her dressing room for the CBS show.

Joining in on the widespread celebration of hip-hop’s 50th birthday, the Kennedy Center will also present a salute to the expansive genre created by and pioneered through the decades by African American artists.

“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,” said Rutter.

Gloria Estefan, herself a Kennedy honoree, will host the show. It is set to premiere to the public in late December, in the weeks following the live ceremony.

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