On Thursday (June 22), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced this year’s recipients of their annual honors, which have been presented to groundbreaking contributors of American culture. For 2023, Queen Latifah will be representing hip hop alongside comedian Billy Crystal, soprano Renée Fleming, Bee Gees frontman Barry Gibb, and singer Dionne Warwick.

Latifah, who is equally astonishing in a variety of other musical genres as well as in the Hollywood realm, spoke on the achievement in an official statement. “I’m humbled to be included in this incredible list of artists honored by the Kennedy Center,” the Flavor Unit legend said. “When we started on this journey decades ago, we were often told, ‘No.’ ‘No, you won’t be able to leave New Jersey.’ ‘No, if you rap, you can’t sing.’ ‘No, singers can’t become actresses.’ ‘No, actors can’t also produce.’ To now be recognized amongst so many multihyphenates feels unbelievable, not for just me and my team, but for our community.”

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter added by referring to rap’s most recent milestone, one that will continue to be celebrated all year long. “This year, we pay special tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip hop, a uniquely American culture whose constant evolution is one of enduring relevance and impact, reflecting our society as it has grown into an international phenomenon.”

Rutter continued, “Hip hop has been an important, thriving art form here at the center for a number of years. What a privilege it is to bestow an Honors to the first lady of hip hop who has inspired us along the way.”

The 46th Kennedy Center Honors will be hosted by 2017 honoree Gloria Estefan and will take place at the Washington, D.C. establishment’s Opera House venue. The event will air on CBS and stream on Paramount+ Dec. 3.