(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden spotlighted the arts as shaping “the very soul of the nation” as he celebrated the latest group of Kennedy Center honorees at the White House on Sunday.
Comedian Billy Crystal, rapper Queen Latifah, and singer Dionne Warwick were among the group honored for their contributions. Soprano Renee Fleming and Bee Gees frontman Barry Gibb are also be receiving awards.
“Performing arts reflect more than just sound and scene they reflect who we are as Americans,” Biden said. The honorees “have helped shape how we see ourselves, how we see each other and how we see our world,” he said.
The East Room reception for honorees and their families preceded the ceremony, which is held at a theater at the Kennedy Center and airs this month on CBS.
Later this week, Biden is slated to attend a 2024 presidential fundraiser with Hollywood celebrities that’s expected to include director Steven Spielberg, producer Shonda Rhimes and comedian and director Rob Reiner — who was also spotted at the White House on Sunday.
Read more: Biden Headed to Hollywood for Fundraiser With Spielberg, Rhimes
“This year’s slate represents an extraordinary mix of individuals who have redefined their art forms and demonstrated remarkable tenacity and authenticity in becoming an original,” Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said in a statement. “Each of them has explored new terrain, stretched artistic boundaries, and most importantly, committed to sharing their gifts with the world.”
“Thank you all for supporting the performing arts that shape our conscience, and the very soul of the nation,” said Biden.
Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff were also slated to attend the Sunday night gala in Washington. The Bidens have attended each year, renewing a presidential tradition that was halted during the Trump administration, when former President Donald Trump stopped attending the ceremony after he was criticized by some of the nominees.
--With assistance from Alicia Diaz.
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