Kennedy Center Honors Selection Process Under Review After Group Says Latinos Excluded

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According to the Associated Press, The Kennedy Center's process for selecting the Kennedy Center Honors is under review after the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts said in September that Latinos have long been excluded.

"It's just a long-awaited acknowledgement from the Kennedy Center that they are going to view Latinos as part of the American mosaic as they should have done," said the organization's Chairman Felix Sanchez.

Read the original report here.

Alongside Kennedy Center board members, the formal review will include an 11-member artist advisory panel, including Debbie Allen, Yo-Yo Ma, Raul Esparza and Joseph Polisi, as well as representatives of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. The Kennedy Center is also planning to create a Latino advisory committee.

Past Hispanic honorees include Spanish tenor Placido Domingo (2000) and Broadway actress and singer Chita Rivera (2002). Felix Sanchez has suggestEd Carlos Santana, Rita Moreno, Gloria Estefan and others as potential Latino honorees.

Producer of the Kennedy Center Honors, filmmaker George Stevens Jr., said, "We should be conscious of diversity insofar as it doesn't compromise excellence because without excellence, we're not fulfilling President Kennedy's mandate. And I think we can do both."

The annual event recognizes recipients for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures and television.

Pictured: Past honoree Chita Rivera. Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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