Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Berry Gordy among this year’s Kennedy Center Honors recipients

Marcy Gensic; Courtesy of Bette Midler; Kal Yee

Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler and Motown founder Berry Gordy are among the notables from the arts and entertainment world who will be saluted at the 44th edition of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors gala. The star-studded ceremony will be held December 5 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

This year’s other Kennedy Center honorees are Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels and Puerto Rican opera singer Justino Díaz.

The awards are presented annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to people who have made lasting contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

A TV special documenting this year’s event will be broadcast during the 2021-2022 television season on CBS, and will be streamed live and on demand on Paramount+.

“I’m grateful to the Kennedy Center for bestowing this honor on my work and I look forward to being a part of this prestigious celebration of the arts,” Mitchell says in a statement. “I wish my mother and father were alive to see this. It’s a long way from Saskatoon [Canada].”

Midler gushes, “I am profoundly touched by this honor, in fact, I am stunned and grateful beyond words. For many years I have watched this broadcast celebrating the best talent in the performing arts that America has to offer, and I truly never imagined that I would find myself among these swans.”

Gordy declares in his own statement, “The Arts not only give voice to the voiceless, but connect us, transform us, and soothe our souls. The Kennedy Center Honors epitomizes the recognition and value of both the Arts, and the Artist. I am thrilled to become a part of this prestigious American legacy.”

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