Joan Baez Among This Year’s Recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors

Joan Baez is set to receive a special honor in Our Nation’s Capital.

The 80-year-old half-Mexican American contemporary folk singer has been selected to receive the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors alongside Garth Brooks, violinist Midori, choreographer Debbie Allen and the ageless Dick Van Dyke.

Joan Baez

“It has been my life’s joy to make art,” said Baez in a statement. It’s also been my life’s joy to make, as the late Congressman John Lewis called it, ‘good trouble.’ What luck to have been born with the ability to do both; each one giving strength and credibility to the other.”

Traditionally held in December, the 2020 edition of the Kennedy Center Honors was postponed to May 2021 due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live events and filming are planned for the week of May 17-22. The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on CBS as a two-hour primetime special that will air on June 6 at 9:00 pm ET/PT.

But the pandemic will have an impact on how the event is staged, with live-filmed tributes and virtual moments to take the place of the traditional event in a packed Kennedy Center Opera House.

“The center’s entire campus will come alive with small, in-person events and re-envisioned virtual tributes. Featuring multiple events for physically-distant audiences in locations across the Kennedy Center’s campus…Programs for each event will encompass both performances and speaking tributes for the honorees,” according to a statement. “Virtual events will also be held throughout the week beginning May 17, and the viability of additional in-person events will be considered as COVID-19 safety protocols evolve over the upcoming months…An honoree medallion ceremony for the honorees and a limited audience will be hosted by the Kennedy Center during [the week of] May 17–22.”

Joan Baez

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to attend the Honors Gala, as presidents traditionally have done (barring a national crisis). Donald Trump was the first president to decline the invitation every year of his term.

This is the first time in five years that a majority of the honorees have been women. Carole King, Rita Moreno and Cicely Tyson were three of the five honorees in 2015.

“The Kennedy Center Honors serves as a moment to celebrate the remarkable artists who have spent their lives elevating the cultural history of our nation and world,” said David M. Rubenstein, Kennedy Center Chairman.

Here’s a look at each of this year’s honorees:

Joan Baez: The folk legend had three top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1960s, including Farewell, Angelina. Her classic version of Robbie Robertson’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. Baez was just 21 when she made the cover of Time in November 1962. Baez has one of the longest spans of Grammy nominations in history, from 1962 to 2018. She has yet to win a Grammy in competition (despite nine nods), but she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2007.

Garth Brooks: The country star, 58, is one of the best-selling recording artists in history. The RIAA lists him second only to The Beatles, with 157 million albums sold in the U.S. (compared to 183 million for the Fab Four). He has had nine No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, including Ropin’ the Wind, which topped the chart for 18 weeks, still the record for a country album. Brooks has amassed 14 CMA Awards, including a record seven awards for entertainer of the year. He was artist of the decade for the 1990s at the ACM Awards. He has won two Grammys. He received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song last year. He made the cover of Time in 1992 in a story headlined “Country’s Big Boom.”

Midori: The Japanese-born American violinist, 49, was just 19 when she received her first (and to date only) Grammy nomination for best classical performance, instrumental soloist (without orchestra) for the album Paganini: 24 Caprices For Solo Violin Op. 1. She made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11 as a surprise guest soloist at the New Year’s Eve Gala in 1982. 

Dick Van Dyke: The actor, 95, won three Emmys for The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66), which is widely regarded as the granddaddy of smart, sophisticated sitcoms. He also won an Emmy in 1977 for Van Dyke & Company, which took outstanding variety or music series. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995. He won a Tony in 1961 for Bye, Bye Birdie (in which he introduced the jaunty “Put on a Happy Face”) and a Grammy for 1964’s Mary Poppins (in which he took the lead in singing the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee”).

Debbie Allen: The actress, dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, director and producer, 70, has won three Emmys for choreography: two for Fame and one for Motown 30: What’s Goin’ On. She also received two Tony nods for acting in revivals of West Side Story (1980) and Sweet Charity (1986). She is a former member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Gloria Estefan to Perform at ‘Nurse Heroes Live’ Benefit Virtual Concert on Thanksgiving

Gloria Estefan is giving special thanks to some of our frontliners…

The 63-year-old Cuban singer will be among the entertainers honoring nurses in a star-studded benefit virtual concert on Thanksgiving.

Gloria Estefanria

Nurse Heroes has announced that the concert called Nurse Heroes Live will stream on the organization’s YouTube and Facebook pages along with LiveXLive on November 26 at 7:00 pm EST.

The benefit will provide money for a variety of programs including scholarships for nurses and their children.

Estefan joins a lineup of performers that include Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Black Eyed Peas, Pitbull, The Wailers, Carole King, Maluma and Andrea Bocelli.

Whoopi Goldberg will host the concert with special appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Billy Crystal.

Taylor Swift will donate a signed collectible edition “Folklore” guitar, which will be auctioned for the benefit of the Nurses Heroes Foundation.

The nurses of New York’s Northwell Health will be the first beneficiaries of the concert. The event will also showcase 50 nurses from the hospital in an ensemble performance with several celebrities.

The concert will be produced by Emilio Estefan and Times Square Live Media.

Becky G to Serve as Co-Host at This Year’s Global Citizen Festival

Becky G is thinking globally…

The 22-year-old Mexican American singer/rapper and actress will serve as a co-host at this year’s Global Citizen Festival, taking place on September 28 at Central Parkin New York City.

Becky G

The event has been held in New York every year since 2012, and calls on music fans to take action on a number of important issues to earn tickets to the show. 

Global Citizen, a social advocacy group, hosts the festival to drive action toward its goal to end extreme poverty by 2030.

This year, Global Citizens are urged to pressure decision-makers to help end child marriage, support family planning, promote women’s entrepreneurship and shine a light on workplace safety.

In addition to Becky G, this year’s co-host roster includes Connie BrittonNina DobrevDakota JohnsonBecky Lynch,Aasif MandviBridget MoynahanKal Penn,Erin RichardsSeth Rollinsand Savannah Seller.

The lineup of performers includes David Gray, NCT 127Queen + Adam LambertPharrell WilliamsAlicia KeysOneRepublicH.E.R., and Carole King, with special guests French MontanaBen Platt, and Jon Batiste & Stay Human.

For the sixth straight year, MSNBCand Comcast NBCUniversalwill air a live simulcast of the event on MSNBC, and Ken Ehrlichand Live Nation will produce.

The festival will also be livestreamed on YouTubeand Twitter

Rivera to Perform at “Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!” on Inauguration Day

Chita Rivera is standing up and singing out…

The 83-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress, dancer, singer and Broadway star will be spending inauguration day at a concert in New York City raising money for human-rights organizations.

Chita Rivera

Rivera, the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honors award, will perform at the Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!

The event will be held at The Town Hall in Manhattan on January 20. It’s intended to be the first in a series of monthly benefit concerts and will be streamed live on Facebook.

In addition to Rivera, a two-time Tony Award winner, the lineup includes Kelli O’Hara, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Betty Buckley, Jessie Mueller and Billy Porter.

Others slated to perform include Sharon Gless, Andrea Martin, Bebe Neuwirth, Rosie O’Donnell, Rosie Perez, Caroline Rhea, Stephanie Mills and Charles Busch.

The concert is the brainchild of Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, who also organized the Broadway for Orlando fundraising concert.

Mueller, currently starring in Waitress, will reach back to her Tony Award-winning role as Carole King to sing “Beautiful.” She hopes its message of love and tolerance resonates.

“Hate comes from a lack of love, so we can’t fight it with more of its own toxicity; we have to fill it with love,” she said. “There are really big things at stake. Things we can’t save or solidify or safeguard alone. We have to think bigger, we have to ask for help, we have to reach out to one another and band together. I hope this concert can be an example of that.”

Proceeds will benefit groups that protect civil rights, women’s health and environmental protection, including Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigration Law Center and The Sierra Club Foundation. Tickets range from $25 to $50.

Moreno Among the Recipients of This Year’s Kennedy Center Honors

Rita Moreno continues to rack up the honors…

The 83-year-old Puerto Rican actress, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s SAG Awards, has been announced as one of recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

Rita Moreno

Each year, the Kennedy Center recognizes a select group for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts with the primary criterion in the selection process being excellence. Honorees are chosen by the center’s board of trustees.

Moreno, a Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe and Tony Award winner, will be honored along side Star Wars patriarch George Lucas, actress Cicely Tyson, songwriter Carole King, conductor Seiji Ozawa and the Eagles.

Moreno, who recently guest-starred on the CW’s Jane the Virgin, has previously received the Library of Congress Living Legends Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a National Medal of Arts and the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The event, a fundraiser for the Washington, D.C. arts center, will take place on December 6. CBS will broadcast the star-studded event on December 29.

Swizz Beatz to Co-Host Alicia Keys’ HIV/AIDS Charity Event Black Ball

Swizz Beatz is helping raising awareness about HIV and AIDS…

The 36-year-old half-Puerto Rican hip-hop artist and record producer is set to co-host his wife Alicia Keys’ annual charity event, which aims to shine a spotlight on HIV and AIDS.

Swizz Beatz

Keys announced Tuesday that her husband will co-host the 11th annual Black Ball alongside Diddy on October 30 at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

Keys, Nas, David Byrne and Angel Haze will perform.

Keep a Child Alive, Keys’ charity launched in 2003, offers assistance to people affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.

Last year’s Black Ball raised $4 million and featured Carole King and Pharrell Williams.

Gloria & Emilio Estefan to Appear at This Year’s Tony Awards

Emilio and Gloria Estefan may be bringing their life story to The Great White Way in the near future… But first they’ll be appearing as part of Broadway’s biggest night.

The Estefans will be appearing at this year’s Tony Awards.

Gloria Estefan Emilio Estefan

In addition to the multi-Grammy winning musicians and producers, the upcoming ceremony, honoring the best of Broadway will also feature appearances by Bradley Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Carole King, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Ferrell, Liev Schreiber, Emmy Rossum, Kate Mara, Zachary Quinto, Zachary Levi, Lucy Liu, Clint Eastwood, Patricia Clarkson, Leighton Meester, Ethan Hawke, Zach Braff, Matt Bomer, Anna Gunn, Tony nominee Audra McDonald, Fran Drescher, Wayne Brady, Kenneth Branagh, Tony Goldwyn, Vera Farmiga and Alessandro Nivola, it was announced Tuesday.

Hugh Jackman will hosted this year’s show.

The 68th annual Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will broadcast live from New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on June 8 on CBS.

Grace: Youngest Female to Reach No. 1 on Billboard Latin Charts

Call her Amazing Grace

Leslie Grace has etched her name into the annals of Billboard chart history.

Leslie Grace

The 17-year-old Dominican American singer has become the youngest female singer to score a Latin radio No. 1, as “Will U Still Love Me Tomorrow” reaches No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart.

Grace’s debut song moved up from the No. 7 spot after seeing a 57% increase in audience impressions (11 million), according to Nielsen BDS, claiming the list’s Greatest Gainer award. The chart will be refreshed on Thursday (October18) on Billboard.com.

With her rise to the top of the chart, Grace passes Jennifer Pena, whose “El Dolor De Tu Presencia” reached No. 1 on August 24, 2002 when she was 19 years and one month old.

Among all acts, Grace enters a tie as the fourth-youngest artist to post a Billboard No. 1 Latin airplay hit.

Here is a look at the youngest artists to reign (including members of groups):

Age, Artist (No. 1, Date Reached)
14 years, 11 months, Pablo Portillo, of MDO (“No Puedo Olvidar,” March 27, 1999)
16 years, nine months, Florentino Primera, of Servando Y Florentino (“Una Fan Enamorada,” May 9, 1998)
17 years, four months, Luis Miguel (“Ahora Te Puedes Marchar,” Aug. 22, 1987)
17 years, nine months, Leslie Grace (“Will U Still Love Me Tomorrow,” Oct. 27, 2012)
17 years, nine months, Servando Primera, of Servando Y Florentino (“Una Fan Enamorada,” May 9, 1998)

“Will U Still Love Me Tomorrow” also soars to the top of Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart (3-1) with Greatest Gainer honors.

The song is a soulful, bilingual adaptation of the classic love song, co-written by Carole King and made popular in the ’60s by the all-girl group The Shirelles.

Colon’s “Voice” to Help Ring in the Holidays…

Javier Colon has locked in his plans to kick-off the upcoming holiday season… He’ll be a special guest at the Christmas tree lighting at New York City’s Rockefeller Center.

The 33-year-old Dominican & Puerto Rican American winner of NBC’s hit reality singing competition The Voice will perform live on NBC’s
Christmas Tree Lighting Special.

Javier-Colon
Colon will join Tony Bennett, Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, Cee Lo Green, Faith Hill, Carole King and Katharine McPhee as they perform classic and modern holiday songs.

The holiday special, which dates back to 1933, will air live on NBC on November 30 at 8:00 pm with co-hosts Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie.

The event will showcase a 10-ton Norway Spruce holiday tree measuring 74 feet tall and 46 feet in diameter.