Queen Latifah is set to be the latest recipient of the prestigious Marian Anderson Award, an honor given to “critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way.”
Following in the steps of honorees that include Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Jon Bon Jovi, Dionne Warwick, Elizabeth Taylor, and Patti LaBelle, Latifah will become the youngest person to earn the award and the first rapper to ever win since it was founded in 1998.
While Latifah’s gotten her fair share of accolades for her art, earning an Oscar nomination for her role in 2002’s Chicago, a Grammy award for her quintessential “U.N.I.T.Y.”, an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and three SAG awards, her most recent esteem comes courtesy of her work in the community.
Heavily involved with organizations that work for women’s and LGBTQ rights, Queen Latifah is also credited with helping to increase arts funding in public schools, and awarding scholarships to low-income students through her late mother’s Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, founded in honor of her brother.
“We’re celebrating 20 years of serving the community. We’re celebrating 20 years of honoring artists who really made a difference beyond what their God-given talent has provided them,” Willa Hightower, chair of the Marian Anderson Award board, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Queen Latifah is an excellent role model and clearly a well-deserving recipient of this prestigious honor,” added Mayor Jim Kenney, “I can’t think of anyone more vibrant and responsive.”