Queen Latifah will be honored this year with the 20th annual Marian Anderson Award. A gala celebration will take place in November in Philadelphia with the regal Dana Owens of East Orange, New Jersey, in attendance.
Latifah exploded onto the hip-hop scene with her single “Ladies First” in 1989, and she has since found success acting on television and in cinema, as well as participating in various entrepreneurial marketing ventures.
Her many awards include a Golden Globe and three BET awards. She is one of the few hip-hop artists to have been nominated for an Academy Award.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney made the announcement on Tuesday.
“I can’t think of anyone more vibrant and responsive in the community,” he said. “A great model for our kids.”
The Marian Anderson Award is given to popular artists – most often musicians and actors – who embody excellence in their artistry and altruism. It’s named after the Philadelphia-born opera singer who broke down racial barriers in the classical music field in the early- and mid-20th century.
Queen Latifah is recognized for her advocacy of black women artists in music and film. Earlier this summer, her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, entered into a partnership with Essence Ventures along with a $20 million endowment to help black filmmakers fund film and television projects.
“This remarkable artist is facilitating the systemic change that allows women of color to control and create their own narrative,” said Tiffany Tavarez, vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo, one of the underwriters of the award.
A gala event and concert are planned for the Kimmel Center on Nov. 20. The talent has not yet been announced. Normally, recipients of the Marian Anderson Award do no perform at their own gala.