WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s going to be a “Beautiful Day” for the band U2 and four other artists when they receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors in December.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Thursday that the Irish rock band along with actor George Clooney, singers Gladys Knight and Amy Grant and composer Tania León are being honored this year.
The center generally honors five people annually for influencing American culture through the arts. But bands and other groups sometimes get honors, too. Disco-funk band Earth, Wind & Fire was the most recent, in 2019, the year the long-running children’s TV show “Sesame Street” was honored. The Eagles were honored in 2016 and Led Zeppelin in 2012.
Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said in an interview that her group has “worked really hard to think about ‘Are we including all of the performing arts?’” as it hands out its awards. She singled out Grant’s music in particular as a different genre being represented in the honors this year.
“We’ve had gospel before. We’ve had plenty of R&B and soul. … We’ve had country music, but we haven’t necessarily had Amy Grant and Christian pop in the same way,” she said, comparing Grant’s inclusion to the center’s honoring of LL Cool J in 2017, the first time the honorees included a hip-hop artist.