Award of a Lifetime

The new class of Kennedy Center honorees


An illustration of the Kennedy Center Honor

The 45th annual class of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was announced on Dec. 4. The Kennedy Center Honors, as it is better known as, is equivalent to the knighthood in the U.K. or the Legion of Honor in France—the most outstanding achievement a person can earn for their craft, all according to

Gladys Knight – the show opened with a tribute to Knight by previous Kennedy Center Honoree Garth Brooks performing the Empress of Soul’s Grammy Award-winning song “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The seven-time Grammy winner’s stage presence has spanned over seven decades. Most famously with her band, Gladys Knight and the Pips, according to

George Clooney – the actor, writer, producer and director was introduced by fellow Academy Award-winner and his six-time on screen co-star, Julia Roberts. The segment also included tributes from Clooney’s dad, Nick, and actors: Richard Kind, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle, according to

Amy Grant – the Contemporary Christian Music singer-songwriter was the first of her genre to receive the lifetime achievement award, according to Grant was introduced by former-Today Show host Katie Couric and had several tributes including ones from Sheryl Crow, Brandi Carlisle and Maren Morris.

Tania León – the Cuban-born American composer was introduced by Carmen de Lavallade. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer’s career has spanned decades with her orchestral work, “Stride” even being commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, according to

U2 – the Irish rock band composed of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. had several performances by Pearl Jam’s frontman, Eddie Vedder, with two-time Academy Award-winner Sean Penn giving a speech on the band’s impact on society, all according to

The 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors was attended by the President and First Lady, the Vice-President and Second Gentleman and the then-Speaker of the House just to name a few. The Kennedy Center Honors aired on Dec. 28 on CBS and Paramount+, according to