Another jewel has been added to the crown of Queen Latifah.
Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney announced Tuesday that the rapper, singer and actress would be the latest recipient of its Marian Anderson Award, named after the pioneering opera singer and Philly native who became the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955.
The award salutes “critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way.”
Latifah, born Dana Owens in Newark, New Jersey, was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Matron Mama Morton in 2002′s Chicago, and Grammy for her song U.N.I.T.Y. Kenney says she’s “an excellent role model and clearly well-deserving of this prestigious honor.”
Previous winners include Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle and music producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
Latifah will be awarded at a Nov. 20 gala.
Anderson became an important figure in the struggle for black artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for her to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. With an assist from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed Easter Sunday concert (April 9, 1939), on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. She sang before a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions.
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