*Some of the nation’s finest artists, scholars and entertainers will be at the White House Wednesday (Mar 2) as President Obama awards the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal.
Among the 20 recipients: jazz legend Sonny Rollins, music producer Quincy Jones, biographer Arnold Rampersad, “To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee and other acclaimed artists such as Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep and singer/songwriter James Taylor.
(Streep and Lee will not be in attendance, the White House said.)
Quincy Jones was chosen “for his extraordinary contributions to American music as a musician, composer, record producer, and arranger. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has mixed pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African, and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performances, movies, and television.”
Sonny Rollins is honored “for his contributions to American jazz music. Widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the post-bebop era, Mr. Rollins’ melodic sensibilities, playing style, and solos have delighted audiences and influenced generations of musicians for over 50 years.”
Harper Lee will be rewarded “for her outstanding contribution to American literature with her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. A powerful statement of the struggle for equality in America, the novel continues to speak to new generations about the pursuit of justice.”
Arnold Rampersad for his work as a biographer and literary critic. His award-winning books have profiled W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson, and Ralph Ellison, and he has edited critical editions of the works of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes.