George Clooney, U2, Gladys Knight Amongst 2022 Kennedy Heart Honorees

WASHINGTON (AP) — A heartfelt Patti LaBelle praised her lifelong pal Gladys Knight. Sean Penn referred to as U2 “4 scrappy Dublin punks.” Ballet dancers carried out for conductor and composer Tania León. Matt Damon playfully teased his pal George Clooney — quite a bit — whereas Sheryl Crow delivered a heartfelt rendition of “Child Child” to Amy Grant throughout Sunday’s Kennedy Heart Honors.

Knight, Clooney, Grant, León and U2 had been all celebrated on the John F. Kennedy Heart for the Performing Arts, which yearly honors a choose group of individuals for his or her inventive influences on American tradition. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective spouses had been in attendance, as had been members the President’s Cupboard and Congress.

One viewers member from the political world — Paul Pelosi, husband of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi — drew some consideration. He’s recovering from a brutal assault within the Pelosis’ San Francisco dwelling in October. The couple acquired a standing ovation from the gang.

Usually performers like U2 or Knight could be headlining such a present, however throughout the Kennedy Heart occasion the honorees sit within the balcony and watch as their friends laud them and carry out their works.

On the pink carpet, Clooney, along with his spouse, Amal, beside him, joked that after seeing pals like Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts in attendance he was anxious his tribute could be extra of a “roast.” And it was a bit like that, although his family and friends confirmed apparent respect.

Roberts set the tone by popping out onstage with a gown emblazoned with images of Clooney. After an introduction that alternated between humorous and heartfelt she turned to a set designed to appear like a smoky bar — the kind Clooney would possibly get pleasure from. The actor’s father, Nick Clooney, regaled the gang with tales of a younger George, together with the time the 7-year-old — heartbroken over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 — gave his father all his toy weapons.

Damon took the humorous street, joking about how Clooney as soon as stole then-President Invoice Clinton’s stationery and wrote notes to fellow actors on it. Cheadle highlighted Clooney’s philanthropic work. However it was Clooney’s father who most likely had the strongest reward, telling the gang and his son, sitting within the balcony between León and U2′s Bono, “George’s finest and most vital work continues to be forward of him.

Standing on a stage lit by a large signal studying “Gladys,” LaBelle referred to as Knight her “every thing,” saying that they had been pals for six a long time and had seen one another by laughter and tears. “We do every thing collectively,” LaBelle mentioned. “I’m honored to honor you tonight.”

Actor and hip-hop star LL Cool J mentioned that at any time when Knight sings she connects with folks. “I as soon as heard Gladys sing the ABCs and I assumed I used to be in church,” he mentioned.

Knight — often along with her backup singers, The Pips — has recorded dozens of albums with such basic hits as “I Heard It By way of the Grapevine” and “Midnight Prepare to Georgia.” The problem of singing that basic in entrance of the girl who made it well-known fell to nation music famous person Garth Brooks, who’s a Kennedy Heart honoree in his personal proper. He cited Knight’s “roots in nation music” earlier than launching into the basic.

Every artist was launched by a video compilation exhibiting snippets of their lives. In Grant’s, her kids talked about their mom’s affect on them. Crow talked about Grant’s affect on her when she was a younger faculty scholar.

“Amy additionally taught me that it was attainable to be humorous, irreverent and Christian all on the similar,” mentioned Crow.

5 ballet dancers took to the stage to honor composer and conductor Tania León, who left Cuba as a refugee in 1967; her passport was stamped “Cancelado” when she left the nation. The performers had been from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which León helped discovered when she finally made her approach to New York Metropolis. She additionally instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Neighborhood Live performance Collection and in 2021 acquired the Pulitzer Prize for her work “Stride,” impressed by girls’s rights champion Susan B. Anthony.

“How do I convey the extent of your musical genius?” requested actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith. Jazz pianist Jason Moran, singer Alicia Corridor Moran and cellist Sterling Elliott performed one among León’s creations, “Oh Yemanja.”

The final honoree of the night time was U2. In a video taped Saturday, U2 guitarist The Edge famous {that a} group of 4 “Irish lads” had been being honored for contributions to American tradition and mentioned there’s a bond between the group and America that may’t actually be defined.

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder sang U2′s “Elevation” and “One.” Comic Sacha Baron Cohen introduced his alter ego Borat to the stage as a part of the U2 tribute, pretending to mistake Biden for former President Donald Trump. Singers Brandi Carlile, Hozier and Jamala — from the U.S., Eire and Ukraine, respectively — closed out the present with an emotional model of “Stroll On.”

U2′s Bono can also be recognized for his philanthropic work to eradicate poverty and to lift consciousness about AIDS. Jamala, whose dwelling nation of Ukraine has been embroiled in almost a 12 months of bloody warfare after the Russian invasion, touched on that historical past of social activism as she launched the night time’s remaining music.

“It’s becoming that on the night time meant to honor them they’ve as soon as once more used their platform to unfold a message of peace. Truthfully to be right here on this vivid heat corridor this night is basically one thing extraordinary for me, when there may be a lot darkness in my dwelling nation Ukraine,” she mentioned.

The honorees got here to the theater from a White Home reception the place Biden praised them earlier than a star-studded East Room crowd as an “distinctive group of artists.”

“Thanks for exhibiting us the ability of the humanities and ‘We the Individuals,’” Biden mentioned.

AP White Home Correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Comply with Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.