The arts world saluted the lifetime achievements of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, stage and screen legend Bette Midler, singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, and operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz last night, during the annual gala performance and star-studded affair known as the Kennedy Center Honors.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, were but a handful of the guests. Also at the black-tie event in the Kennedy Center’s Opera House were Hollywood and Broadway performers, politicos, cabinet secretaries, Washington insiders, billionaire business leaders, journalists, and diplomats.
This year’s celebration comes amid the Kennedy Center’s celebration of its 50th anniversary. The center first made its public debut on September 8, 1971.
Everyone in attendance on Sunday was required to show proof of full vaccination in advance, as well as produce a negative Covid PCR test taken in the past 72 hours. Masks were worn except when eating or drinking or participating in media activities on the red carpet.
The Honors celebration is actually the bookend to a whirlwind weekend of events for the honorees in DC. On Saturday night, they were formally presented with their rainbow-colored ribbons and medallions at the Library of Congress. And just prior to Sunday’s gala, President Biden hosted a private reception for them at the White House.
CBS will broadcast the 44th annual ceremony on December 22, 2021.