AceShowbiz - Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell will lead this year's (2021) Kennedy Center Honors recipients. The singers will be joined by "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels, Motown boss Berry Gordy and bass-baritone Justino Diaz.
Kennedy Center officials plan to return the ceremony to its traditional time and format in December. Because of COVID-19, the most recent honors were postponed until May this year, with the ceremony spread out over several days.
"After the challenges and heartbreak of the last many months, and as we celebrate 50 years of the Kennedy Center, I dare add that we are prepared to throw the party to end all parties in D.C. on Dec. 5th, feting these extraordinary people and welcoming audiences back to our campus," Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter said.
About the honor, Midler said in a statement, "I am profoundly touched by this honor, in fact, I am stunned and grateful beyond words." The 75-year-old continued, "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, meanwhile, reflected on his past. "Growing up in Detroit, I was not only Black but the 'black sheep' of my family. I was a failure at everything I did until I was 29 years old," he noted. "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."