Musician & Activist Joan Baez To Receive Kennedy Center Honors This Spring

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Singer, songwriter and activist Joan Baez has been named one of the Kennedy Center Honors recipients for 2020. Last year’s event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony will now be held in late spring.

The video from the Kennedy Center announcing Baez’s award calls her “an artist of unique empathy, a poet of the people, a singer for society who reaches deeply within herself and shares her immortal voice with all humanity.”

“Folk icon Joan Baez breathed new life into the genre and powered rock music’s turn toward social and political consciousness,” David M. Rubenstein, Kennedy Center Chairman, said in a statement.

Not only was the half-Mexican music icon known for her self-titled albums, including Joan Baez and Joan Baez, Vol. 2, and songs like “Diamonds & Rust” and “Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word,” she made a name for herself for her social and political activism throughout her career. This included participating in Civil Rights demonstrations organized by Dr. Martin Luther King and speaking against the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

She will join other Latino celebrities who have already been enshrined, including Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Rita Moreno, Chita Rivera, Gloria Estefan and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Other honorees in the 2020 class are: actress Debbie Allen, country singer and songwriter Garth Brooks, violinist Midori and actor Dick Van Dyke.