George Clooney, Gladys Knight among Kennedy Center honorees | Entertainment News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Performers this sort of as Gladys Knight or the Irish band U2 commonly would be headlining a concert for countless numbers, but at Sunday’s Kennedy Heart Honors the tables have been turned as they and other artists were feted for their life span of inventive contributions.

Actor, director, producer and human rights activist George Clooney, groundbreaking composer and conductor Tania León, and modern day Christian singer Amy Grant will be part of Knight and the complete crew of U2 in getting honored by the John F. Kennedy Heart for the Accomplishing Arts.

The group honors a pick out team of persons each individual year for their inventive influences on American society. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective spouses were in attendance.

Biden paid out tribute to the honorees prior to the ceremony at the White Residence Sunday afternoon, praising them prior to a star-studded East Home group as an “exceptional group of artists.”

“Thank you for showing us the ability of the arts and ‘We the Men and women,’” Biden stated.

He highlighted Clooney’s on-camera perform and off-screen charity endeavors, from helping 9/11 victims’ households to supporting a gun regulate marketing campaign led by the survivors of the Parkland faculty shooting.

“He is unrelenting and undaunted,” Biden explained. “That is character in actual existence. And that is George Clooney.”

Biden hailed Grant’s voice as “a real present from God that she shares with everybody,” thanked León for ’breathing new seems into the soul of the nation,” and reported he has all of Knight’s tracks on his Apple iphone.

“We’re heading to get on that midnight train,” Biden reported of Knight. “Because I speak for all Us residents when I say we we’d alternatively stay in your entire world than be without the need of you in ours.”

Biden, noting his adore of Irish poets, called U2 “four sons of Eire, poets in their have right” whose songs “has improved the environment.”

“We would do properly to try to remember now at a moment when there’s way too substantially dislike, also much anger, as well considerably division right here in The us, and pretty frankly, close to the globe,” Biden mentioned. “We have to don’t forget right now, as their song goes: ‘We are one particular but we’re not the similar. We get to have each other.’”

On the red carpet in advance of the Kennedy Middle demonstrate, Clooney, with his wife, Amal, beside him, joked that just after observing close friends like Don Cheadle and Julie Roberts in attendance he was anxious his tribute would be more of a “roast.”

Developing up in a compact Kentucky town, he said, he watched the Kennedy Center Honors on Television set including that he was enthusiastic to be part of a fraternity that features actors this sort of as Paul Newman and Henry Fonda.

Throughout the ceremony, an emotional Patti LaBelle called Knight her “everything,” declaring they experienced been mates for 6 decades and found each and every other by way of laughter and tears. “We do all the things together,” LaBelle mentioned. “I am honored to honor you tonight.”

Country tunes celebrity Garth Brooks, citing Knight’s “roots in nation tunes,” sang her common “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

U2 has offered 170 million albums and been honored with 22 Grammys. The band’s epic singles consist of “I Nonetheless Have not Discovered What I’m On the lookout For,” “Pride (In the Name of Like)” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Direct singer Bono has also turn into identified for his philanthropic function to eradicate poverty and to elevate consciousness about AIDS.

Grant is very well recognised for crossover pop hits like “Baby, Toddler,” “Every Heartbeat” and “That’s What Adore is For.” She’s bought a lot more than 30 million albums, which include her 1991 document “Heart in Movement,” which launched her to a larger sized pop viewers.

León explained through an job interview when the honorees were declared that she was not anticipating “anything spectacular” when the Kennedy Center at first attained out to her. Just after all, she’s labored with the Kennedy Heart quite a few moments above the years heading back again to 1980, when she was commissioned to compose audio for a engage in.

But the 79-year-outdated Pulitzer Prize winner said she was surprised to master that this time the ceremony was heading to be for her.

León still left Cuba as a refugee in 1967 and eventually settled in New York City. She’s a founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Live performance Sequence.


AP White Household Correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Follow Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.

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Kenneth Proto

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