The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the five artists to be honored this year, and two of these artists are Latinos. Musician Carlos Santana and opera singer Martina Arroyo will be honored along with actress Shirley MacLaine, musician Billy Joel and pianist Herbie Hancock, reports the New York Times.
The annual award is presented for lifetime contributions to American culture in dance, music, theater, opera, film or television. These honorees come after a backlash the Kennedy Center felt, when criticism rose that out of the 35 years of awards, only two Latinos had been honored. Actress Chita Rivera and opera star Placido Domingo were the two who had been previously honored.
After an internal review, the center expanded its artists’’ committee, which picks the nominees, and began accepting recommendations from the public.
“It’s better than Fourth of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s,” Santana told the New York Times. He is receiving the award 50 years after he arrived in San Francisco from Tijuana, Mexico.
The medals will be presented at a dinner on December 7, followed the next day by a reception at the White House and tribute performances at the Kennedy Center. The performances will be broadcast December 29 on CBS.
Are you happy to see these two artists’ honored? Who else should receive medals? Share in the comments!