The 2023 Kennedy Center Honors, held on December 3, recently showcased a dazzling array of tributes to Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick, and Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has released highlights from the event, which took place in Washington, D.C. Hosted by Gloria Estefan, a 2017 honoree herself, the event celebrates remarkable lifetime achievements in the arts. This year’s tribute featured Missy Elliott, Chloe Bailey, and Gladys Knight, performing for an audience that included the president and first lady. Also honored were comedian Billy Crystal and opera star Renée Fleming. Catch snippets of the performances and more below.
Missy Elliott delivered an emotional speech honoring Queen Latifah, reminiscing about her early encounters with Latifah’s music. This was followed by Rapsody’s rendition of “Just Another Day…” Elliott highlighted Latifah’s messages of unity, self-belief, and endless love for Black women. Dive into Elliott’s full speech below.
Dionne Warwick’s rich musical legacy was celebrated by Chloe Bailey, Cynthia Erivo, and Gladys Knight, who each performed Warwick’s classic hits. Ego Nwodim of Saturday Night Live and 2020 honoree Debbie Allen offered heartfelt speeches in tribute to the soul music icon. Bailey chose “Walk On By,” Erivo opted for “Alfie,” and Knight performed “Say a Little Prayer.”
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For Barry Gibb’s segment, the audience enjoyed Michael Bublé’s rendition of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” and Little Big Town’s interpretation of “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights.” Ben Platt sang “Nights on Broadway,” while Ariana DeBose delivered a captivating medley of Bee Gees’ classics including “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Stayin’ Alive.”
Renée Fleming was serenaded by Dove Cameron with “The Light in the Piazza,” and a collaborative performance of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel by Tituss Burgess, Christine Baranski, and the Jubilation Choir.
Reflecting on his Kennedy Center Honor, Barry Gibb said, “I often imagined but never really believed this day would come.” Queen Latifah expressed her gratitude, recalling the early days of her career marked by rejections and now feeling honored among such distinguished multi-talented artists, a recognition she dedicates not just to herself and her team, but to the wider community.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kennedy Center Honors 2023
Who were the 2023 Kennedy Center Honorees?
The 2023 Kennedy Center honorees included Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, Billy Crystal, and opera singer Renée Fleming.
What was Missy Elliott’s role in the 2023 Kennedy Center Honors?
Missy Elliott delivered a speech honoring Queen Latifah, discussing Latifah’s impact on her life and music, and emphasizing themes of unity and self-belief.
Which artists performed Dionne Warwick’s songs at the event?
Chloe Bailey, Cynthia Erivo, and Gladys Knight performed Dionne Warwick’s songs at the 2023 Kennedy Center Honors, each covering a different hit from Warwick’s discography.
How was Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees honored at the ceremony?
Barry Gibb’s tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors included performances by Michael Bublé, Little Big Town, Ben Platt, and Ariana DeBose, who sang various Bee Gees’ hits.
What did Queen Latifah say about receiving the Kennedy Center Honor?
In her statement, Queen Latifah expressed her disbelief and gratitude, noting the significance of being recognized among such talented artists, and dedicating the honor to her community.
More about Kennedy Center Honors 2023
- Kennedy Center Honors Official Page
- Missy Elliott’s Speech Transcript
- Dionne Warwick’s Music Career
- Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees’ Legacy
- Queen Latifah’s Career Highlights