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Soul Legend, Gladys Knight, to be Honored by Kennedy Center

Courtesy of the Kennedy Center
Soul legend Gladys Knight will join an elite field of performers and artists being honored for their contributions to American culture this December at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala.

Recipients of the 45th Kennedy Center Honors were announced Thursday. The gospel, soul and R&B star is joined by actor and filmmaker George Clooney; contemporary Christian pop singer Amy Grant; Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban-American composer Tania León and the rock band U2 in receiving recognition.

“I’m humbled beyond words to be included amongst this prestigious group of individuals, both past and present. You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honored on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these—it just wouldn’t have seemed possible," said Knight of her selection in a statement released by the organization.

The seven-time Grammy winner added, "It would have been the dream of all dreams. I have been blessed with so much in my life and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list. To be honored as a Kennedy Center Honoree is among the highlights of my career. I stand here with my fans, my family, my friends, my team, and my faith in accepting such an amazing distinction. It is dedicated to all those who paved the path for me to be able to accomplish the wonderful blessings I’ve been able to receive. The Kennedy Center’s commitment to the arts is unparalleled and I am so very grateful for this moment.”

Nicknamed the "Empress of Soul," Knight has enjoyed decades of success in the music industry, both as the frontwoman of the Pips and as a solo artist. Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

The Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which is a major fundraiser for the Kennedy Center, will take place on December 4 and be broadcast later on CBS and streamed on Paramount+.

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