President Joe Biden received – in the East Room of the White House – the winners of the “Kennedy Center Honorees”, i.e. the artists who have influenced American culture. Among them, we remember: actor and director George Clooney, singer-songwriter Amy Grant ; singer Gladys Knight, composer, conductor and educator Tania León and Irish rock band U2, consisting of band members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.
The award was established in 1978. Over its 45-year history, the Kennedy Center Honors it redefined America’s perception of its artistic heritage and reinvented how this nation rewards its artists. The Honors they have been compared to a knighthood in Britain, or the French Legion of Honour, the reward for efforts and achievements.
Biden paid his respects to the honorees ahead of the ceremony at White House praising them before a star-studded crowd in the East Room as a “outstanding group of artists”. It highlighted Clooney’s work in front of the camera and off-screen charitable efforts, from helping the families of victims of theSept. 11 to support a gun control campaign led by survivors of the Parkland school shooting. The US President greeted the voice of Grant as “a true gift of God that she shares with everyone”. She thanked Leon for “having breathed new sounds into the soul of the nation. “I speak for all Americans when I say that we would rather live in your world than be without you in ours.”
Biden called U2 “four sons of Ireland, poets in their own right” whose music “changed the world. We would do well to remember today at a time when there is too much hate, too much anger, too much division here in America, and frankly, around the world, a song of theirs: `We are one but we are not the same. We have to carry each other.”