Queen Latifah is slated to be honored at the 46th annual Kennedy Center Honors, making her the first female rapper to be honored at the renowned event in December this year, after being the first female rapper to have her music placed in the National Recording Registry.
“I’m humbled to be included in this incredible list of artists honored by the Kennedy Center,” 53-year-old Latifah said in a statement. “When we started on this journey decades ago, we were often told, ‘No’. No, you won’t be able to leave New Jersey. No, if you rap you can’t sing. No, singers can’t become actresses. No, actors can’t also produce. To now be recognized amongst so many multi-hyphenates feels unbelievable, not for just me and my team, but for our community.”
The “Just Another Day” emcee is among four honorees from the music industry to be recognized for their contributions to American culture. The others are singer Dionne Warwick, comedian Billy Crystal, soprano Renée Fleming, and singer-songwriter-producer Barry Gibb, CBS reported.
Gloria Estefan, a 2017 Kennedy Center recipient, will headline the event on December 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. This year’s ceremony will also honor hip-hop’s 50th anniversary. According to Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center, “hip-hop has been an important, thriving art form at the Kennedy Center for a number of years, and it is therefore a privilege to bestow an Honors to the First Lady of Hip-Hop, Latifah.”
In April when Latifah became the first female rapper to ever be inducted into the National Recording Registry, her 1989 album “All Hail The Queen” which features “Ladies First”, was cited as the particular album that led to her induction.