News Column

Only 2 Hispanics Have Won In 33 Years of Kennedy Center Honors

Dec. 7, 2011

David Stabler

The Kennedy Center Honors just announced this year's honorees: singers Barbara Cook and Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and actress Meryl Streep. But in the awards' 33-year-history, only two of 165 receipients have been Hispanic, according to Felix Sanchez, on Huffington Post. They are Placido Domingo in 2000 and Chita Rivera in 2002.

Sanchez points out performers who have been overlooked, several of them now dead:

"During those 31 years, Latino artists, who are now deceased, like: Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Ricardo Montalban, Raul Julia, Anthony Quinn, Fernando Llamas and Rita Hayworth were more than worthy recipients of this American Arts Award. Presently, Latino artists deserving of this national acknowledgement by the President and the nation's leaders include: Rita Moreno, Joan Baez, Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan or Ruben Blades."

Sanchez continues:

"This year marks the 50th anniversary of the film West Side Story. Rita Moreno, who turned 80 this year, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in that film; Ms. Moreno is also a former Tony and Emmy award winner. Ms. Moreno is just one example of how easy it would have been to include a Latino honoree, had the executive producer wanted to honor her."

Source: (c) 2011 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

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