For the first time ever, two Canadians will be recognized at the annual Kennedy Center Honors celebrating their lifetime achievements in the arts.
Fort Macleod, Alb.-born singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and Toronto-born “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels are among the selection of five honourees announced Tuesday by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s class of honourees also includes operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz, Motown founder, songwriter and producer Berry Gordy, and legendary stage and screen icon Bette Midler, in addition to Mitchell and Michaels.
“Lorne Michaels created the most enduring ‘must-see television’ with ‘Saturday Night Live’, a show that is both mirror and muse for life in America,” Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein says in a press release. “Songstress Joni Mitchell, blends raw, deeply personal lyrics with her stunningly ethereal voice in 19 albums, becoming one of the most influential singer-songwriters and cultural figures in 20th-century popular music.”
“This year’s honourees represent the unifying power of the Arts and surely remind us of that which binds us together as human beings. These artists are equal parts genius, inspiration, and entertainment,” Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter reveals.
Held in Washington, D.C. in December each year, this year marks the 44th edition of the event which will return to an in-person format on Dec. 5. The event will air as a two-hour primetime special on CBS and will be available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.