Dionne Warwick, Billy Crystal, Queen Latifah reign at Kennedy Center Honors

Honoree Dionne Warwick and her family attend the 46th Kennedy Center Honors gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, U.S., December 3, 2023. REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson | Kennedy Center Honors 2023

By Jeff Mason and Jasper Ward

Washington celebrated singer Dionne Warwick, comedian Billy Crystal, Bee Gees member Barry Gibb, rapper and actress Queen Latifah, and opera star Renée Fleming on Sunday at the Kennedy Center Honors, the top U.S. honor for achievements in the arts.

President Joe Biden lauded the work of the five performers during a reception at the White House before the show.

“The performing arts are more than just sound and scene. They reflect who we are as Americans and as human beings,” he said.

The show kicked off with a tribute to Warwick, 82, a pop music star since the 1960s who has sold more than 100 million records and is known for hits such as “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and “That’s What Friends Are For,” a 1985 song she recorded with Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder to raise awareness about AIDS.

“There simply is no song that Dionne Warwick cannot sing,” said record producer Clive Davis, adding that she had “inspired musicians all over the world.” Singer Cynthia Erivo performed a stirring version of Warwick’s song “Alfie.”

Crystal, 75, known for roles in films such as “When Harry Met Sally,” “City Slickers,” and “Analyze This,” was next up. Actors Meg Ryan and Robert De Niro appeared onstage to pay tribute to their friend.

kennedy center honors 2023
U.S. President Joe Biden points a finger and first lady Jill Biden applauds as they attend the 46th Kennedy Center Honors gala, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, U.S. December 3, 2023. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

“You’re only 75. That means you’re just about six years away from being the perfect age to be elected president,” De Niro quipped. Biden, 81, is running for re-election. The crowd roared.

Crystal is a Tony- and Emmy-winning actor and writer who hosted the Academy Awards nine times. Whoopi Goldberg, who also paid tribute to Crystal, said he should win an honorary Oscar for his service as the longtime host of the show.

Next up was Queen Latifah, 53, a musician and actress known for films including “Chicago” and “Bringing Down the House,” who won a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1994.

“I feel very blessed. I feel very honored,” she told reporters. Actress Kerry Washington said her friend was one of the “best rappers of all time.”

Singers Tituss Burgess, Christine Baranski and Susan Graham performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the Broadway show, “Carousel” in tribute to Fleming, 64, an acclaimed soprano who has performed at opera houses around the world and collected five Grammy Awards.

“It’s wild” to be an honoree, Fleming said. “It’s all joy.” Movie star Sigourney Weaver appeared and praised Fleming’s acting.

Opera singer J’Nai Bridges said ahead of the show that Fleming had helped make opera more mainstream.

“Renée Fleming has absolutely made opera more accessible,” she told reporters. “She’s broken through and really kind of paved the way for the generations like myself.”

The show concluded with a celebration of Gibb, 77, a singer and songwriter who performed with his brothers Robin and Maurice in the Bee Gees, a group that sold more than 220 million records. He has won nine Grammy Awards and, as part of the trio, is known for songs such as “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”

Member of the Bee Gees, Barry Gibb, and singer and actor Queen Latifah attend a reception at the White House ahead of the 46th Kennedy Center Honors gala, in Washington, U.S. December 3, 2023. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

He told reporters ahead of the show that he felt the presence of his brothers, both of whom have died.

“It’s very emotional,” he said. “What we all did together – when we were good, when we were on – that was something to be proud of.”

Country group Little Big Town performed Gibb’s song “Lonely Days,” singer Michael Bublé sang “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” and Broadway star Ben Platt did a rendition of “Nights on Broadway.”

The show, which was recorded, will be broadcast by U.S. television network CBS on Dec. 27.


Billy Crystal is introduced at the 2023 Kennedy Center Honors gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, U.S., December 3, 2023. REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson
Related Stories

Beyond the Rink: The Transformative Work of John and Aryne Tavares

John Tavares Foundation © Erin Leydon By Raye Mocioiu John Tavares, Canadian ice hockey forward and captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is a family man in more ways than one. Since co-founding the John Tavares Foundation (JTF) with wife Aryne Tavares, the athlete has been on a mission to reach as many children and families as possible and provide them with the resources needed to achieve their full potential. “I don’t think there’s a better feeling than seeing a smile on a child’s face,” said Aryne, co-founder and CEO of the JTF. “It speaks a thousand words and makes us want to keep giving back and reach as many people as possible.” Aryne explained that the couple had long wanted to find a way to give back, and when the time finally came, they were determined to hit the

Read More »

Dolly Parton announces first-ever ‘pet gala’

58th Academy Of Country Music Awards at The Ford Center at The Star Featuring: Dolly Parton Where: Frisco, Texas, United States When: 11 May 2023 Credit: imageSPACE/Media Punch/INSTARimages Dolly Parton is to host a “pet gala” featuring dogs wearing some of her most famous ensembles. The iconic singer will present the Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala; a two-hour variety special that will feature a runway of “doggy talent” wearing versions of her most famous outfits. The dogs will also wear items from Dolly’s own pet range, Doggy Parton. “I love animals. I’ve got all kinds, and of course, I’ve always had little dogs around, and big ones! We’re going to have some of all kinds and colours on the show, and there is nothing more fun to me than when little animals do what they do best,” Dolly said. The show

Read More »
the ocean cleanup

Making Waves: Coldplay Partners with The Ocean Cleanup to Save the Waters

Boyan Slat (Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup) with Coldplay © @AnnaLeeMedia By Raye Mocioiu Every year, an estimated 2.2 billion pounds of plastic end up in our oceans—that’s equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic every minute. Plastic pollution is a growing problem and an active threat to climate initiatives. Between the risk to animal safety and the risk of plastic particles in the very food that we eat, it’s high time to take action. Beloved British rock band Coldplay is at the forefront of this mission, fighting for progress alongside the non-profit organization The Ocean Cleanup. Founded by Boyan Slat in response to the alarming amount of plastic in the oceans, The Ocean Cleanup is dedicated to developing and scaling technologies to address this critical issue and aims to remove 90 per cent of floating

Read More »
teenage cancer trust

The Who’s Roger Daltrey has found ‘purpose’ in his work for the Teenage Cancer Trust

© BANG Showbiz Roger Daltrey has been given a “purpose” in life through his charity work. The 79-year-old rocker is best known as part of The Who alongside Pete Townshend but has organised the annual Teenage Cancer Trust concert series at the Royal Albert Hall since 2000 and explained that even though he is now stepping down from the role, he will “never forget” some of the young patients he has met. He told Metro newspaper’s SixtySeconds column: “I’ve met so many over the years. There’s quite a few who will stay with me forever – I could never forget them and the letters and cards really mean a lot – I’ve kept them all. “I’m some old fart of a rock singer and this has given me a purpose. “I’m not very good at doing nothing and I’m looking

Read More »

Actor Idris Elba leads knife crime campaign with symbolic display

British actor Idris Elba stands in front of a display of clothing representing individual victims as he highlights an anti-knife crime campaign, near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 8, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville By Farouq Suleiman Actor Idris Elba on Monday used his star power to launch a new campaign to combat knife crime in Britain, which has surged in recent years with many of the victims being teenage boys. Elba, known for roles in the television series “The Wire” and “Luther”, is demanding an immediate ban on machetes and so-called “zombie knives” – bladed weapons originally inspired by zombie films. To kick-off his “Don’t Stop Your Future” campaign, piles of neatly folded clothes were laid in rows across London’s Parliament Square to represent those who have died from knife crime. They included an outfit donated by the

Read More »

Don Cheadle and Gloria Walton

Top Photo: Don Cheadle © Chris Pizzello; Gloria Walton © Will Utley care of The Solutions Project On Climate Justice, Radical Change, and Solidarity Philanthropy By Raye Mocioiu Award-winning actor and part-time superhero Don Cheadle says that storytelling can vividly paint a picture of a better future in which audiences can see themselves, their families, and communities reflected in an inspiring light. The UN Global Goodwill Ambassador sits on the board of directors for the Solutions Project, a national non-profit organization that funds and amplifies climate justice solutions. Co-founded by Mark Ruffalo in 2013 and led by president and CEO Gloria Walton, honorees of the 2023 TIME Inaugural Earth Award, the Solutions Project takes a socially informed approach to climate justice solutions, leading with the knowledge that climate change goes hand-in-hand with systemic racism—and real, lasting change requires talking about

Read More »
2019 Billboard Women in Music Event at Hollywood Palladium on December 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA. Taylor Swift. Los Angeles, California, United States. 12 Dec 2019. Nicky Nelson/WENN.com

Guitar signed by Taylor Swift fetches $120k for children cancer charity

2019 Billboard Women in Music Event at Hollywood Palladium on December 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA. Taylor Swift. Los Angeles, California, United States. 12 Dec 2019. Nicky Nelson/WENN.com A guitar bearing Taylor Swift’s signature has sold at a cancer charity auction for a whopping $120,000. Country star Toby Keith and Friends hosted the 2023 OK Kids Korral auction, which raised an incredible $1.8 million for children battling the deadly disease, and the Grammy winner’s instrument was the top seller. A personal dinner with Keith went for $70,000 and a fishing trip made $80,000. A guitar signed by country music superstars Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, and more also fetched $44,000. The Bengals’ Joe Burrow, Warriors’ Steph Curry, and Tiger Woods also offered up memorabilia. Last year, Taylor’s signed ‘Midnights’ guitar sold for $12,500. The ‘Shake It Off’ hitmaker’s

Read More »

Taylor Swift makes another generous donation to Detroit food bank

Taylor Swift donates to food banks during stops on her Eras Tour © Bang Showbiz Taylor Swift made a generous donation to a food bank in Detroit, Michigan. The Grammy winner has been donating to food poverty charities in cities on her ‘Eras Tour’, and her latest was to the Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, as she played two nights at Detroit’s Ford Field on Friday (09.06.23) and Saturday (10.06.23). Quoting the ‘Shake It Off’ hitmaker, the food bank wrote on Facebook: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people.” The post added; “These words ring true today with Taylor’s surprise donation to Gleaners during her #TSTheErasTour stop in #Detroit. “Thank you for making an impact and empowering kids and families with nutritious food!” In a statement to local press, Kristin Sokul, a representative for Gleaners,

Read More »

Get your free copy of Global Heroes, jam-packed with positive news, straight in your inbox.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Global Heroes Podcast


Subscribe to our Newsletter and Access all issues of Global Heroes News straight in your inbox. 100% free, no purchase necessary, for life. Uplifting stories, highlighting the inspirational efforts of everyday people, celebrities, and organizations, who are diligently working together towards practical solutions to global problems.